The Lord proclaims: You have said about this place, “It is a wasteland, without humans or animals.” Yet in the ravaged and uninhabited towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, the sounds of joy and laughter and the voices of the bride and the bridegroom will again be heard. So will the voices of those who say, as thank offerings are brought to the Lord’s temple, “Give thanks to the Lord of heavenly forces, for the Lord is good and his kindness lasts forever.” I will bring back the captives of this land as they were before, says the Lord.
The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims: This wasteland, without humans or animals—and all its towns—will again become pastures for shepherds to care for their flocks. Shepherds will again count their flocks in the towns of the highlands, the western foothills and the arid southern plain, in the land of Benjamin, as well as in the outlying areas of Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, says the Lord.
The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill my gracious promise with the people of Israel and Judah. In those days and at that time, I will raise up a righteous branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is what he will be called: The Lord Is Our Righteousness.
Life goes on.
Jeremiah made the case that things were bad, yes, but that life would go on. Again, young men and women would be married in Jerusalem. Again, shepherds would graze their flocks on the hills. The war with the Babylonians wouldn’t last forever.
My Dad had a saying: “The sun will come up tomorrow.” It was a way of putting things in perspective. Often he meant, “This may not seem so important in the morning.” My problems were never as big as the ones Jeremiah faced, of course. And most of yours probably aren’t either.
The saying still sticks with me, though, all these years later. In part, that’s because these few words aren’t just about perspective. They’re also about time, because the sun coming up is how we mark time. No one can stop, slow down, speed up, or reverse time, of course, but you CAN control how you approach it.
It is very easy to get mired in a short-term perspective. Things may stink now, but that doesn’t mean they’ll always stink. What I’ve found is that hope ALWAYS takes a longer view. Many times, all you need is enough shift in your perspective to get you through the next few hours, until you can see things a bit more clearly. Hope always reminds us that life goes on, and invites us to hang in there just a little while longer to see what will happen.
For Pondering & Prayer
Have you ever considered hope as just a simple shift in your time horizon? Does this help you to find hope in a challenge you’re dealing with today?
Why is it so often easier to see the signs of hope in a friend’s situation than in our own? What does that tell you about how time and perspective influence hopefulness?