Life happens, but it does seem that some are tested almost beyond endurance. Lives are sometimes shattered and hope is hard to come by. Consider the following:
In the early morning hours, a family’s home became engulfed in flame; four children die.
A sunny summer afternoon, two preteen girls go for a walk; they are murdered.
A wife returns home from work, only to find her husband isn’t there: he has left for good.
A business is sold; hundreds of people lose their jobs.
Lifelong friends encounter misunderstandings; friendships splinter.
Cars hit head-on; an entire family is killed.
A drive-by shooting occurs; the victim is paralyzed.
A hurricane hits; your home and business are lost.
All of these events have happened to real people in real life; multiple times. I call them pivotal points, you know those moments when life changes forever. But what I want to say to you today is in the reality of shattered lives, there is always hope.
Jesus told us in this world we will have trouble, but he promises to be right beside us. Isaiah 43:1-3 promises he will be right beside us as we go through the fire of oppression and the deep water of trouble–if we will call upon him as our Savior.
But today, if your life, your relationship, your family, and your hope lies in ruin, I want to share with you the promise that God gave to the Prophet Jeremiah in Chapter 33.
Jeremiah was still imprisoned in the dungeon beneath the palace of King Zedekiah, king of Judah, while the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem. The King imprisoned him for prophesying that the city would be conquered by the Babylonians and King Zedekiah would be taken prisoner. (Jeremiah 32:1-4)
God in his mercy had spoken to Jeremiah earlier, but now he sends him another message. The message was that while judgment was coming upon the city of Jerusalem, verse 5—I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness, and I will not pity them when they cry for help. God would in time, restore the city.
I call this chapter the “I Will” passage for the phrase is used ten times in The Living Bible. It is in this chapter that I see God as a God of Restoration and His promise as I Will.
Verse 10 says, “I will tell you some remarkable secrets about what is going to happen here. In verse 6, he says “I will heal Jerusalem’s damage and give her prosperity and peace; verse 7—I will rebuild the cities of both Judah and Israel and restore their fortunes; verse 8—I will cleanse away all their sins against me and pardon them; verse 11—I will make this land happier and more prosperous than it has ever been before; verse 14—I will do for Israel and Judah all the good I promised them; verse 15—I will bring to the throne the true Son of David; Verse 25-26—I will never abandon the Jews. . . I will restore their prosperity and have mercy on them.
The truth is life is not fair. Sometimes the judgment coming is to refine us, sometimes it is to refine others, but judgment falls on the just and unjust alike. Sometimes, it’s not judgment, for the Bible says the enemy is like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour. Remember Job? Sometimes, it’s a test. But if you belong to the Lord, then God will restore to you in time what you have lost.
One of my favorite verses is Romans 8: 28. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”(NIV). My friend, God never wastes suffering. Our job is to keep walking with and trusting in HIM. After all, His promise is I will and He is a God of Restoration.