Shadows of the Past – Jeremiah 31:8

“Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together; a great company, and they shall return here.” Jeremiah 31:8

I love this picture of those God draws to Himself. It is not a picture of rulers and kings. It is the beautiful picture of His people, coming just as they are from wherever they have been.

We are then given a glimpse of their transformation as they return to their God: “With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back…They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD…I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the souls of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:9, 12-14). You don’t see shadows of their past following them here. No wishes that they had never been blind or lame, that life had gone differently or been easier and less filled with pain. No, these people are focused on glory. Their eyes are set on their Savior and King, and they are radiant over the goodness of their Lord. Radiant. Like sunshine. All mourning, all sorrow is washed away in the perfect comfort and joy of their God.

Even when we reach the other side of a valley, it’s easy to get drawn in to wishes for a different story. Wishing God had gotten us where we are without all the pain. Wishing we had just made different choices, had learned some things the easy way. But we have to trust God with our past. To trust His infinite wisdom and grace, believing that He is good to us. Rejoice that He is redeeming every part of your life. It is through the cracks, through our brokenness and scars, that His glory shines with the most brilliance. This is where others can see hope. We are radiant over the goodness of our Lord because we see all the beauty He has brought to our lives. He turns our mourning into joy. He takes our sorrow and fills us with gladness. We wouldn’t know the wonder of that transformation without the hurts in our past. We would miss out on the fascinating mystery of the joy of Christ.

Whatever your story looks like, wherever you are in this moment, know that this is what God is speaking to your heart: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” (Jeremiah 31:3). Everlasting love. Continuing faithfulness. Unending, abundant grace. Unexplainable peace in the arms of your perfect Savior.

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