For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
This scripture verse has been my lean-into verse for a very long time. What does it say then and what does it say now? Jeremiah was a prophet, who from time to time had moments of doubt between himself and God. In public he was courageous. He wanted people to repent so God did not have to judge them. The exiles were in Babylon at the time and these words were written to them. Jeremiah was giving God’s guidance to the people living in that place. He told them what would happen to the unbelievers and to the false teachers.
Jeremiah gave the people hope for a better day. He could see into the future to a “day of the Lord”. This would be when evil was overcome, by a new covenant and forgiveness of sins. How does this speak to you? Do you have moments of doubt? Do you put on a courageous face in public while silently suffering inside? The same guidance God gave those exiles, through Jeremiah, is good for us today. “God has plans for your welfare”, to “give you a future with hope”.
In Ephesians 4:1-6 we read, “I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Isn’t this the “Day of the Lord”, as shared in Jeremiah? A new covenant and forgiveness of sins rings true today and we need to hear it. Put away your courageous face, your moments of doubt, and lead this life worthy of your calling in Christ Jesus. God’s plans for you include making efforts to maintain unity in a bond of peace with those around you.
God’s gift to us was His son, so that we might live in unity of faith and knowledge of God. We are to speak truth in love to promote growing and building up our family in love. We are all God’s family. We are to be renewed in the Spirit, clothe ourselves in a new self, in true righteousness and holiness, in the likeness of God.
To close I want to share words from a choir anthem from Easter Sunday that ties all of this together. The Song is Calvary’s Love.
Calvary’s love will sail forever, bright and shining, strong and free,
Like an ark of peace and safety, on the sea of human need.
Through the hours of all the ages those tired of sailing on their own
finally rest inside the shadow cast by Calvary’s love across their souls.
Calvary’s love, priceless gift Christ makes us worthy of;
The deepest sin can’t rise above Calvary’s love.
Calvary’s love can heal the spirit life has crushed and cast aside
And redeem till heaven’s promise fills with joy once empty eyes.
So desire to tell His story of Love that loved enough to die;
Burns away all other passions and fed by Calvary’s love becomes a fire.
Calvary’s love has never faltered; all its wonders still remain.
Souls still take eternal passage; sins atoned and heaven gained.
Heavenly Father, may we see the promise you gave Jeremiah many years ago, the words you gifted Paul later on, and mostly may we see Christ’s love for us that never falters. Forgive our sins and help us to gain heaven in our time, shining peace to all around us. This we humbly ask in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.