It’s all OK

“Nothing is too hard” for God. God reminded Jeremiah of this just after he warned his prophet of the coming destruction of Jerusalem, where Jeremiah lived and ministered (see Jer. 32). And with this warning God also promised a time to come when Jerusalem would again be restored. Then everything would be OK. God, after all, is still in charge of world affairs.

To underline his point God told Jeremiah to invest in some local property. This startled the prophet since buying worthless property just outside a doomed city didn’t make sense. The money would be wasted. Yet it was also true that money was meaningless at this point in Jerusalem’s history. Spare cash doesn’t do much in a complete national meltdown.

So timing is everything. The coming destruction and exile of Jerusalem was just around the corner while the promised restoration would only come after a seventy-year national exile. Jeremiah would die of old age long before that restoration, so the land purchase was actually God’s gesture through Jeremiah to give hope to his readers—a good future was still to come.

God’s power over evil that Jeremiah illustrated still stands. Even today nothing is too hard for God—whether it’s the near-term collapse of a marriage, a business, a church, or a nation. God is in charge even when evil seems to be overwhelming. He’s always working behind the scenes.

This key lesson of faith needs to be underlined. God is not the author of evil. But he allows those who make godless choices to taste the tragic fruit of those choices. It may be through broken marriages, lost businesses, dissolved churches, collapsed nations, or all of the above. And these tragic values also entangle innocent neighbors—the modern counterparts of Jeremiah. Yet God never lets evil or the Evil One win in the end. Nothing is too hard for God. Paul also affirmed this in Romans 8: “for those who love God all things work together for good.”

Of course most of us wish God’s good would come sooner rather than later!

What does Jeremiah’s assurance mean to us today? Here’s one thought. We might want to revise some of our songs! Today a number of church worship songs insist that if God is on our side we’re secure. The idea seems to be that we’re sure to be safe if we sing these choruses with hearty devotion and arms raised.

It’s a nice sentiment. But the idea that if God is on our side we’re safe from hardships or tragedies is biblical nonsense. And it’s even more tragic if, when we taste the bitter fruit of living in a fallen world, we then think God has lost his grip.

Hebrews 11:36-38 keeps us in focus. This part of the “faith chapter” of the Bible follows encouraging stories of faithful saints: Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Moses, and others. Yet this section lists those who received God’s promises only after they died. Who were mocked, flogged, stoned, sawn in half, and killed by the sword. Not exactly a Sunday worship theme.

Paul had a clearer view of life and faith when he spoke of being crucified with Christ. He knew that sweet circumstances aren’t promised in a fallen world. Instead we’re called to embrace Jesus who was crucified by rulers of the present age. And who, once dead, returned to life. Nothing, after all, is too hard for God! And all of us who live by faith are assured of a future resurrection home with our Lord where every tear is dried and every sorrow is left behind.

So it’s true and we can sing about it: for those who love Jesus it’s all OK. But be patient!

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3 Comments

  1. Tish Adele Gamez

    Thank you, Ron, for your wise and heartfelt words. I’ve made those godless choices in my life—relied on what I thought was best rather than what God wanted for me. And yes, I have tasted the fruit of those choices, and at first, it is sour, even rotten; however, the sweetness comes later, as an aftertaste of humility, of grace. I’ve also suffered from someone else’s godless choices, yet it’s through that suffering that I have drawn closer to and relied more on God. And isn’t it ironic that the tragic fruit (the rotten fruit) that God allows us to taste, also carries within it the seeds of the sweetest purest fruit: the fruit of God’s love and mercy.

  2. Judy Denning

    When I read this, Ron, I thought of one of my favorite quotes: “CS Lewis says to a man looking for fullness in life. If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you will find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place for training and correction and it is not so bad…it may even be good.”

    Suffering is apart of all of our lives here on earth. We have a wonderful opportunity to witness to others about the saving grace of Jesus through these momentary hardships. It may even be good.

  3. R N Frost

    Such encouraging words, Tish and Judy. Thank you! And be sure to find that quote in Lewis (I’m not sure myself but he’s worth reading until you get there!).

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