The promise of hope in the story of Jeremiah is as jarring as “Rocky Raccoon” showing up in the middle of the Beatles’ White Album. The theme of the story is dissonance, so the only thing that could really jar us in the midst of the fall of Jerusalem is the staggering, unforeseen and, as Phil put it, “unbidden” hope of chapter 31.
Everything would change with the coming of the new covenant. No longer would there be conditions, laws, stipulations, or the possibility of covenant dissolution. This new covenant would not only deliver God’s people from their enemies, much more importantly, it would save God’s people from themselves.
And so in one sense, everything was going to change.
But in another sense, everything would remain the same.
That's the challenge of hope. It looks beyond the present to what will come.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that we are not too far removed from Jeremiah’s original audience to get a feel for how they must have reacted. Do you ever hear the promise of God in the midst of despair and wonder if it could really be true? And what does it feel like to wait for him to come through on his promise? To trust that God will deliver on what he has said?
What does it feel like to be surprised by hope?
What does it feel like to wait in that hope?