“For thus says the LORD: Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, “Save, O LORD, your people, the remnant of Israel.” (Jeremiah 31:7)
I started off the day, when I wrote on this passage, quite glum. I thought I had lost (foreshadowing, beloved reader) something important to me – a watch that I wear for work. I had not realized, until I could not find it, how important it was to me, and how it helped me get through the day. I had thought I had been “careless” and had not kept track of it from the time I took it off Friday evening until I went looking for it Monday morning. I was bereft! However, at the end of the work day when I came home, I searched for it again. And this time I found it! “Sing aloud with gladness, and raise shouts; give praise and say O Lord you have saved this person!”
“See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here.” (Verse 8)
I had thought I was going to need to replace it; and indeed had made plans during the day to replace it. But I also gave over to the Lord my sadness and concern. It was not misplaced, beloved reader! The watch I thought was lost was returned to me. And joy ripples through me!
“With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” (Verse 9)
Jeremiah was speaking words of consolation and comfort to his listeners/readers. It was not a small or minor thing that they had lost, like a watch; nor something that could be easily restored to them, like ordering another watch. It was their livelihood and their home. Friends and family that were separated, and perhaps lost to this world. It was their hopes and dreams, and their security and peace of mind. Ripped away from them, and them ripped from their homes. Lost in an unfamiliar place, without a way to navigate through life. Everything they had ever depended on, gone!
Were the words of Jeremiah a solace? Did they believe it? Did they believe it (meaning restoration) would happen in their lifetime or that of their children? I suspect, beloved reader, their story did not have as happy an ending as my day. I know I am fortunate; and it really is a small thing – really. But if it allows me the opportunity to present a metaphor and analogy that we might for just a moment have a brief look into what they might have been feeling, then let my small loss be magnified to cover generations. And my joy be magnified so that we might understand how much solace comes to us from the Divine! Shalom & Selah!