But first, is there something we’re missing?
Enveloped by Covid-19, with cities locked down and fear filling the atmosphere, we are living in unparalleled times.
- The old die from the virus, the young too are not spared.
- The wealthy are struck, the poor even more.
- The lonely are accompanied in hospitals in the oddest of times but so are the married with children and grandchildren.
- Businesses are punished, so are the governments.
- Renowned names have equally fallen, no thanks to this pandemic.
Reading Jeremiah 30 however brought some hope to the soul. In it Jeremiah spoke about restoration and as I read this with a backdrop of the global pandemic of Covid-19, any indication of light from the Lord is like the pillar of cloud during Moses’ time where it symbolised direction, confidence and guidance to the Promised Land.
Jeremiah 30 (New International Version)
3 The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess,’ says the Lord.”
In all my readings and devotions over the years, I have found that some messages are meant for the day, the week or some time in the near future but there are also those, as described at the end of Jeremiah 30, I will not understand until they have passed.
24 In days to come
you will understand this.
Chewing on those perplexed words are especially difficult to decipher because we as human beings can’t foretell the future. We are not able to see what’s to come even in the next minute, how then are we to predict into the much distant future? But the word of the Lord provides some hints and this reliance of His text occurred about a decade ago when in a stretch of time during most of my devotions, I read about wars, defeats and deaths.
The dramatic scenes of battles, duels and killings appeared in my readings as frequently as I flipped open the bible. At that time, still a young believer by any measure, I couldn’t quite place where those passages were leading me to but what played out in my mind were tragic consequences from the battlefields. Then as if replayed on the silver screens, troubles began to form some months and years down the road. Although there weren’t any literal bloodbaths, the ensuing problems were nothing short of cinematic.
Among the painful memories at that time were terrifying moments clouded by fear, anxiety and hopelessness, interspersed with questions I asked myself if we can live to see tomorrow. That was how frightening life was when you’re pushed to the limit, living on the edge with no rope to hang on to except for only our faith in Him. “How will you survive?” never escaped my mind.
But after we’ve been rescued from such calamities, one after another if I may add, we would have personally witnessed and experienced God first hand and how He hoisted us out of those troubles with His one easy stroke of the mighty hand. But before those liberating moments, imagine the trembling fear I had just days before, breaking into cold sweat just by sitting still in winter. You become numb as you cling on to our one and only God.
If there were options to fill the scenes with fireworks, smokescreens and sound machines, those episodes would have been blockbuster materials. But the special effects weren’t exactly the best parts of the entire show because the most revealing message that reflected the continuous bloody pages of the bible was that the crisis occurred not just once but twice and on both accounts, if they were written into movie scripts, they might stand a chance at the Oscars.
Racing for Restoration
But coming back to this moment now, after having read Jeremiah 30 speaking of restoration, I can’t help but to race in my mind thinking if this is referring to restoring the world right now or is God speaking about a future restoration.
From the medical practitioners to economic pundits and those in the business of contributing to world order, it would seem that Covid-19 has still some way to go before we see stability in the system. It may take years or that it may even go worse before it can become better.
If our receptors are only attuned to such secular predictions, how then are we as believers going to reconcile with God’s restoration message as written in Jeremiah 30?
I will confess from here first that I am merely an author of my personal articles, a simple man not serving in the capacity of a pastor, priest or any academically qualified bible-teacher. I write from what I think the Lord has prompted me to and inject my own thoughts along the way to personalise it to match my best observation of our surroundings. So to prophesy about something from a reading of the word is totally out of my league and truthfully, I should refrain from doing so as well.
Further, when I correlate stuff, I am merely suggesting if the situations are similar and whether we should look at it from God’s lenses instead of our own. Such awareness helps align our understanding and anchor our souls correctly. When we are calibrated this way, we will be more ready to tackle life challenges in the most faith-filled way possible.
Arise from the Trembling Fear
Going back to Jeremiah 30, when the Lord asked Jeremiah to speak to the people about restoration, admittedly I was very comforted by it because truth be told, this pandemic has been wreaking havoc globally and through it, I’ve lost two long term clients with several other new prospects postponed or diminished in its chances of securing them (originally written on 6 April 2020). Where and how then am I to find long term customers right when everyone seems to have buckled down and watching over their spending like a hawk?
Oftentimes, we are asked to rely on God and to trust Him through all our adversities. With Jeremiah 30, it is the very same reminder we can draw from when He tells us that everything will be fine and we are to remain calm because He will restore us again. Crucially and to safeguard this passage as if it’s our final lifeline, this is the part we Christians need to hang on to when we are faced with insurmountable life ordeals.
8 “‘In that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty,
‘I will break the yoke off their necks
and will tear off their bonds;
no longer will foreigners enslave them.
9 Instead, they will serve the Lord their God
and David their king,
whom I will raise up for them.
10 “‘So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant;
do not be dismayed, Israel,’
declares the Lord.
‘I will surely save you out of a distant place,
your descendants from the land of their exile.
Jacob will again have peace and security,
and no one will make him afraid.
11 I am with you and will save you,’
declares the Lord.
I believe in all sense of the word that things will indeed get back in order. God will put the world back in its place after His job is finished, complete of course with this round of life lessons. But when will that be?
I think for us as believers, we must believe that the timing of such an event is not the most important because if we dare to be brutally honest with ourselves, we must recognise that there are lessons we must first fulfill during this time of the pandemic before the light can emerge from the end of the tunnel. That’s right friends, when we have come to “graduate” from what we must learn in this episode of our life journey, we can be assured that God will have all the reasons to lift us all out of our predicaments.
I’m saying this confidently because this is the same as how God had done so for me in my private moments in the last decade or so. When the harrowing experiences are over and the dark clouds have all but disappeared, mark my words, we will sit down one day reflecting in retrospect what were the tremblings all about?
When that time comes my friends, we must remind ourselves not to be overly prideful and that we must identify with the trembling as part of our humanly attributes which we must experience in order to see God in action and like a double edged sword, allow us to also deepen our faith in Him. If that’s not enough, we should then point to each other that even in the days of Jeremiah 30, full grown men were trembling in excruciating pain as if they were in labour.
4 These are the words the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah: 5 “This is what the Lord says:
“‘Cries of fear are heard—
terror, not peace.
6 Ask and see:
Can a man bear children?
Then why do I see every strong man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor,
every face turned deathly pale?
The descriptive text of the bible serves to be our guideposts and references as to what can potentially happen when we go in a different way from the Lord. These history lessons are evidence that as God meted out His learning modules for us, and tough as it may be, He will not let us perish from such steep climbs.
11‘Though I completely destroy all the nations
among which I scatter you,
I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only in due measure;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’
And so friends, through our most selfish times and wayward ways, this is the time to reinvest our faith in the God that has it all under control. He will restore us come what may and to this, we shouldn’t fear the timing of the restoration but instead, we should convince our minds to wait with great anticipation because when the Lord finally decides to waves His hands, those who abide in Him will find themselves in a much more anointed position than they were ever were before.
18 “This is what the Lord says:
“‘I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents
and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city will be rebuilt on her ruins,
and the palace will stand in its proper place.
19 From them will come songs of thanksgiving
and the sound of rejoicing.
I will add to their numbers,
and they will not be decreased;
I will bring them honor,
and they will not be disdained.
20 Their children will be as in days of old,
and their community will be established before me;
I will punish all who oppress them.
21 Their leader will be one of their own;
their ruler will arise from among them.
I will bring him near and he will come close to me—
for who is he who will devote himself
to be close to me?’
declares the Lord.
22 “‘So you will be my people,
and I will be your God.’”
Get ready to be restored, with great expectations!
Bible reference from www.biblegateway.com