Focal Passage: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14
The focal passage of scripture for this lesson is a letter, written by Jeremiah to a group of people who were being “carried away in captivity” from Jerusalem. The King, Nebuchadnezzar, has had the elders, priests, and prophets all carried away into captivity. Now the working title of the lesson is when all “seems” lost. I am not sure about you, but for me, once the carrying away begins it isn’t a “seems” situation any more. Nope, at that point we have crossed over to the “all is actually lost” arena.
The word of the Lord, as delivered by the prophet is almost a “don’t panic” message. God insists that the children of Israel build houses, take wives, beget sons, and seek the peace of the city they are being carried to. I expect this message wasn’t met with a hearty “you betcha.” If I had been among them, I’d have been screaming that it was exactly the time to panic.
All seems lost? No all is lost, and the word of the Lord is “don’t panic.” Recent days and times from financial markets to the housing situation show an “all is lost” state of affairs. We don’t want people to tell us not to panic; we want them to give us a reason we shouldn’t. In the matters of finances and housing, that isn’t happening. In fact we are being told the worst may be yet to come. All is not only lost, but some of what might have come to us eventually is now being lost too.
But with God, it is never quite this way.
You see what we must realize is the fallacy in my earlier presumption, that there comes a point at which we cross over from all seeming to be lost, to where all actually is. With God all is never lost. With God there is always hope.
In verse 14 of the focal passage, God’s words are words of that hope. I will gather you back together, I will bring you from the far place, I will be found by you . . . not I might, not I could, but I will: A definitive statement from which we must take hope. Even when all seems lost, it isn’t. Even when all feels lost it cannot be, not with God.
When all seems lost we must only remember to turn to the God of hope, with whom all is never lost.