For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil. . . Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. (Jeremiah 29:11a–12 )
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When you are having a challenging day–a day when you get bad news, the internet goes down, or you can’t find your way out from under a challenging project–you may forget that God has called you as His own by virtue of your Baptism into Christ, planned for your welfare and given you a future with hope. The challenge is that in the dark times, you may not see the hope.
God sends the prophet Jeremiah to you and lifts your eyes from that hopelessness that may surround you. Hope is commonly used to mean a wish: Its strength, people believe, is the strength of the person’s desire. That is always the wrong place to focus. What we find is that our own strength is never enough and our desires are ruled by the selfishness of sin. In contrast, the Bible presents hope as the confident expectation of what God has promised, and the strength of hope is in God’s faithfulness.
Jeremiah 29 is a letter to the people of Judah who are currently in exile. The whole letter is God speaking to the people through the prophet Jeremiah, telling them that, eventually, things are going to get better. God will keep His promises to them and ultimately to all humanity in His Son. Paul’s letter to the Romans reminds us that hope is firmly rooted in God: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13.) And the hope, joy, and peace we have flows from the wounded side of our crucified and risen Savior.
Hope isn’t a matter of circumstances, it is the promise that God will sustain us when our days are filled with joy and peace or when they are terrible. Hope is the promise that Jesus will come again to judge the world and vindicate our trust in Him. Hope is like grace and faith: They are all promises that God has given to us in Christ as free gifts. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
What God ordains is always good: This truth remains unshaken. Though sorrow, need, or death be mine, I shall not be forsaken. I fear no harm. For with His arm He shall embrace and shield me; So to my God I yield me. (“What God Ordains Is Always Good” LSB 760, st.6)
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch