I will never forget this awful time as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!
— Lamentations 3:20–24 NLT
Our pastor asked this past Sunday morning, “Have we lost home-field advantage?” From my vantage point, it often looks and feels that way. Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego knew the feeling well, as did Jeremiah, and Jeremiah wrote about it. At one point in his life, smoke rising from the Judean landscape found Jeremiah’s eyes filling with tears trying to take it all in. A grand and glorious edifice once stood there. A very special place kings and queens would travel miles to behold now lay a heap of smoldering ruin. Nebuchadnezzar’s armies had ravaged Jerusalem, taking 4,600 souls into exile (see Jeremiah 52:30), not including women and children, which may well bring the number of captives upward between 20–30 thousand according to Jewish scholars.
No wonder Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. There was much to weep about, much to mourn. God’s place of dwelling on earth was gone now, as were his people. But beyond the realm of physical sight, from somewhere within the depth of his very anguished soul, a familiar voice rang out to remind Jeremiah:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
— Jeremiah 29:11
Such words may be hard to process in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the attack on the twin towers, and the tsunami in December of 2004. When all you can see is destruction, massive devastation, sickness, and disease, it’s difficult to see how such atrocities could find a place in God’s plan for us. Yet, it does. Perhaps that is why looking out over the temple grounds, Jeremiah chose to say:
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
— Lamentations 3:22–23 NLT
The times were awful. Jeremiah acknowledges that truth. The times may be awful for you right now, but time and circumstances in no way alter the promises of God to us. He honestly does know the plans he has for us. His plans to prosper you, not harm you, to give you hope and a future, have not changed. As a somewhat bewildered Habakkuk once said:
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
— Habakkuk 2:3
If not yet, now would be the perfect moment to place faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. In the quiet of the moment, simply acknowledge your need for him, and invite his life into yours.