God Will Make a Way, but Patience Is Required
Reflecting on the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Three Days after Sunday (Year C)
Psalter: Psalm 129
Old Testament: Jeremiah 50:1-7, 17-20
Gospel: Luke 22:39-46
Psalter: Psalm 57
Old Testament: 1 Samuel 25:36-42
Gospel: Luke 22:39-46
Creator God, you call us to love and serve you with body, mind, and spirit through loving your creation and our sisters and brothers. Open our hearts in compassion and receive our petitions on behalf of the needs of the church and the world.
Holy One, hear our prayers and make us faithful stewards of the fragile bounty of this earth so that we may be entrusted with the riches of heaven. Amen.
In those days and in that time, says the Lord, the people of Israel shall come, they and the people of Judah together; they shall come weeping as they seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, and they shall come and join themselves to the Lord by an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten (Jeremiah 50:4-5).
The people of Judah are not in a good place. The Babylonian Empire, the biggest bully on the geopolitical block in the sixth century B.C., has destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple and has deported many of God’s people off to exile in Babylon. Surely, it must seem that God has either forgotten them or is not as powerful as the gods of the Babylonians. It’s been hard for the Judeans to accept Jeremiah’s insistence that they have been judged for their idolatrous ways and unjust behavior. Whatever they may think of the why of their situation, they have no hope for a bright future. There seems to be no way out of their exile.
But God can always make a way. Though it might be difficult for the people to accept, especially since it is far off into the future, Babylon will be judged and God’s people will return to their land. It must be remembered that judgment in the Bible is always redemptive. The judgment of Judah will result in restoration. No matter how bad things may seem, there will be light at the end of the exilic tunnel.
Not only must we remember that judgment is redemptive, we must also embrace the virtue of patience. God’s timeline often is not ours. God has the bigger picture in mind when we are so narrowly focused. When the recipients of the letter of 2 Peter wonder why Jesus had yet to return, the author reminds them that God does not reckon time as we do, and if there is a delay it is for the purpose of redemption.
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:8-9).
God is not slow in making a way; often his people are in too much of a hurry. Whatever we face, God is making a way. We may not see it, nor will the way necessarily be a road we expect, but let us not lose hope. Patience is a necessary virtue for those who follow Jesus.
PRAYER: Life-giving God, heal our lives, that we may acknowledge your wonderful deeds and offer you thanks from generation to generation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Check out my blog, “Faith Seeking Understanding,” here.