A Future Full of Hope
The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, exiled in Babylon, to remind them that God had not forgotten them, even in their sufferings. They had become a people filled with hopelessness, thinking that the Lord had abandoned them. They struggled to pray, to trust, and to believe that they would ever have blessings again.
Thus says the Lord: Only after seventy years have elapsed for Babylon will I visit you and fulfill for you my promise to bring you back to this place. For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord, and I will change your lot; I will gather you together from all the nations and all the places to which I have banished you, says the Lord, and bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you. Jeremiah 29: 10-14
In this day and age, we might not be exiled from our homes or country, but the voices of this world seem to proclaim a message of “doom and gloom,” that this life has nothing to offer except suffering and despair. Of course, we do not like this message, but it can dominate our minds to the point that we give in to another powerful message circulating through social media: “do whatever you want to make yourself happy; no one else cares!”
Sadly, this is the message of every generation, from before Jeremiah, and throughout human history to the present. There is no denying that life can be viewed as a constant battle, an unending struggle with little chance of getting all we might want or expect. But drowning our hours and our senses in pursuits of entertainment to dull ourselves to the struggle is not the answer, either. This simply keeps us lost, living without purpose or a future.
Faith is the only reasonable response to the hopelessness of our earthly trials. This “faith” is not merely wishful thinking that “things can only get better because nothing can be worst than this,” or the expectation of a miracle because God pities us and will take care of us in spite of ourselves. Jeremiah reminded the people that God would be with them, with us, when we seek the Lord “with all your heart.” This means: all our thoughts, our words, our actions are to be completely focused on the Lord, on Jesus and the message of the Gospel. A casual or “half-hearted” relationship with God will leave us hopeless and never truly help us.
We prove our trust in God, our hope for the future,
by making God the first priority of our life.
First, we must truly start each day and end each day in prayerful intimacy with God; there should be no other ideas or distractions which can confuse and split our attention. Persons of prayer will always know there is more to life than the recurring problems and difficulties. We will see what the world does not see, that God is truly with us.
Next, we must seek to serve the Lord rather than wait to be served. Praying for answers but refusing to become the answer to the needs of others is a failed commitment to the Christian life. Our daily activities must model Jesus who gave his time and assistance to every person he encountered. There is joy in lifting up our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Finally, we must place our resources in the service of God as the way to grow in hope, because it is for our future and the future of the Body of Christ, the Church. This commitment will always help us to focus on what is to come and prove that we share in the building of God’s Kingdom, here on earth for the sake of our heavenly future.