My cousin is in a tough spot, but it’s a place probably most of us have been in (if you’re not actually there right now). She’s waiting for the next chapter. She’s floating along on the river of life, but at the moment, her raft feels a little like it’s caught in an eddy. She’s smart though, and has turned to maybe the most well-known verse in Jeremiah:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (ESV)
This is an encouraging verse, and its context makes it even more so, I think. Jeremiah – the “weeping prophet” – wrote these words to the survivors in exile. Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Jerusalem and those who survived had been dragged off to Babylon. The loss of a national identity – of city, temple, land – had to have been utterly demoralizing to the Israelites. They had to assume that God had abandoned them, that He’d forgotten them. So Jeremiah wrote to them in no uncertain terms that this exile would be temporary, that He would bring them back and restore them to their land. God’s promises and plan had not failed.
Are you in a tough spot, wondering if God has forgotten you? Read through the Psalms, and count the number of times the various writers mention waiting on the Lord, or maybe even more to the point, the number of times you read “steadfast love.” The Hebrew word translated “steadfast love” is “hesed,” (it’s also translated “lovingkindness”). It refers to more than just God’s love, though, so “steadfast love” is appropriate. God remembers His promises. He is faithful and true… and He does not forget those who are His.
As Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations 3:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
So if you’re stuck in an eddy – or worse, if you’re feeling very much like an exile – wait for the Lord, and trust in His unfailing hesed. I know that’s easier said than done – but He has not forgotten you.