My two passages today are from Jeremiah and Matthew. In Jeremiah 14, God has promised calamity in there form of famine on the land, and there is no way out. The hearts of the people have been too far away from him for too long.
Why are you like a man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save? You are among us, Lord, and we bear your name; do not forsake us!
This is what the Lord says about this people: “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the Lord does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” (Jeremiah 14:9, 10 NIV)
Yet still, although they know that punishment will come, the only place to place their hope is in the One from whom it is coming. There is no point following anyone else.
Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, Lord our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this. (Jeremiah 14:22 NIV)
We cling on in the darkness to the source of our hope.
The second passage also began in a dark place. In Matthew 28 the women are walking to the tomb to put spices on Jesus body. They don’t have much hope. There were witnesses to his death by crucifixion just two days earlier. Yet their hope is restored. The stone guarding the tomb is rolled away, and it is empty. An angel appears to say that Jesus has risen, and soon Jesus himself appears to them.
This is hope from darkness. The full realisation and implications of what has happened has not yet dawned on them, yet they realise their darkness is over. God has been faithful; Jesus has been truthful.
In one passage, they cling on to hope knowing they can do nothing else. In the next, they see God’s marvelous plan coming to light, pulling them out of their darkness.
At which point are we in our Christian journey? Do ewe have the courage to keep hoping regardless of whether we are seeing God working in the present or not?