2–8 September 2018.
We Christians have a deep hope that everything will work out fine. We know that life isn’t easy, we know that day after day we have to face serious troubles and hardships. But despite all that we still trust God knowing that he is at work behind the scenes weaving everything together into something good.
While it’s important for us to hold onto that hope, it’s also important to remember that the road to that good ending won’t necessarily be easy. When we sit in the surgeon’s office, we too hope that in the end everything will end well. But we know that the road to get there will take us through surgeries and sufferings, through a lot of cutting and pain.
When the prophet Jeremiah looked at the Israelites, he saw a people that had become diseased and sick. In chapter 23, Jeremiah describes the symptoms he sees: the land is full of evil, people love dishonesty and abuse their power, and even religious leaders are involved in all kinds of immorality. In vv. 9–40 what really troubles Jeremiah is that Israel’s other prophets also see this evil, but they just give people good news: Don’t worry, everything will still turn out fine.
At one level it’s true: yes, everything will turn out fine. But Jeremiah knows that to get to that good ending there’s going to have to be some pain, some cutting, and some suffering that happens first. The Israelites will have to stop all the evil they are doing, and they will have to go through judgement for that evil first. Only once they go through that pain can things become better.
Today when we look at the world around us, we too see so much unfairness and so much injustice. People hurt each other and are involved in so much evil. As Christians, we can hold onto the hope that God is leading our world to better things. But we mustn’t forget that the road to get there won’t be easy. It’s only through God’s judgement, and by demanding an end to all the hate and unfairness around us that things can start to heal. As Christ’s disciples, God wants us to be involved in this work, to bravely stand up and demand things change, to speak out for what is right and good and true.
In Jeremiah’s world and in ours, we all have hope. We know that things will end well. But the only way that can happen is if we first come to terms with God’s judgement on the evil in our lives, and bravely work for an end to that evil and hate.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis