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September 16 | Jeremiah 31:10-14


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Joy Rising from Hope

by Mary Alice McGinnis


I have a friend who lives in Lahaina, Hawaii. We have all seen the pictures of the devastating wildfires that have ravaged the Island of Maui, but knowing someone who lives right in the midst of this place of massive devastation brings it home to me in a whole different way.


Through the eyes of someone I know, I can picture on some small level what it must have been like to hear the horrific news that a consuming wildfire was coming. Hearing stories of how the hurricane-force winds blew on tiny little sparks that erupted into engulfing flames is mind numbing. The flames became so hot that cars and tires melted to ash. The beauty of this place has come to ruin. Things that many have known and loved - homes, historic buildings, their livelihood - have been destroyed. People’s lives have been lost.


I keep thinking, what must it have felt like? Knowing that this wildfire that was consuming everything, ravaging their city, their homeland? The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness while watching this unfold. The realization that no amount of effort they could muster on their own could stop it. It was considerably stronger than they!


I couldn’t help but think of this when I read today’s words from Jeremiah.


Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands:

“He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over His flock like a shepherd.”

For the Lord will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.


The book of Jeremiah outlines all the devastation that was on the horizon for the children of Israel. Yet amid all the tragedy, God weaved a message of hope.


Have you heard about the Banyan tree in Maui? It was planted in 1873 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Protestant Mission in Lahaina. At the time of its planting, it was 8 feet tall. It now stands 64 feet tall and has 46 major trunks. Many were concerned that this beloved iconic emblem of the Lahaina community was scorched beyond repair.



They feared it was dead.


Yet expert arborists have found that the tree is still alive!! Perhaps due to its many trunks. Perhaps due to its unusual root system. The arborists are working diligently to care for and restore this beloved tree. It has given the people of Lahaina a ray of HOPE! Hope that someday, their once beautiful home will be restored and the newness of life will flourish once again!


Where are you feeling devastation in your life? Where does it feel like life will never be the same again?

Jesus is the Good Shepherd Jeremiah promised. John 10:11 tells us Jesus says,


“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”


John 10:14-15 continues,


“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”


Where can you see signs of HOPE that the Good Shepherd is indeed watching over you?

He has come to deliver you, to ransom you, to buy you back from the throes of evil, sin, death. He has come to redeem you. How did He do this? By giving HIS life for YOURS.


Where is He calling you to draw closer to Him and trust in His redeeming love?

Do you dare hope?


“They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.” (Jeremiah 31:12b)


PRAYER

Lord, we lift our shouts of PRAISE to YOU! You have redeemed us! You restore us!

You alone are our ONLY source of hope! May our hearts dance with exuberant JOY!

You are the ONLY One who can turn our deepest, darkest sorrows into gladness. You are our Good Shepherd, the One who laid down Your life for us. We hold tightly to Your promises to satisfy all our anguishing need and to fill us to overflowing. Sink our roots deep into your abounding well of overpowering grace that will stop at nothing to rescue us.



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Thank you for that amazing prayer! It gave me lots of hope this morning.

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