“For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
declares the LORD,
because they have called you an outcast:
‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’ ”
I love this declaration of God. His recognition that outsiders mock His people, believing them to be abandoned. His unequivocal statement that He will heal their wounds – hurts which, mere verses before, He painted as incurable: “For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous. There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you” (Jeremiah 30:12-13).
The people of Israel had turned so far away from God, the sickness in their souls was severe. They could try everything and still come away unwhole and unhealed. Yet there is still hope. Because their God has not abandoned them. He will restore. He will heal. And the nations will see the salvation of their God (Isaiah 52:10).
“Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like a mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:21). Our transgressions have been blotted out like a cloud. Our iniquity has been taken away, placed on Jesus Christ our Savior, who paid the ransom to redeem us with His blood. We have not been forgotten. We cannot be forgotten – for our God has engraved us on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16).
There will likely be moments for each of us when others call us outcasts, claiming that we are those for whom no one cares. Or it may come from within, from a heart so wounded by sorrows and grief that it feels desperately alone. But cling to these words of our God, for His Word stands firm and in Christ we have been grafted into His people – those who can hold fast to His promises and know He will not fail:
“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent; and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name, that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married, for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married” (Isaiah 62:1-4)
Our God can heal even our most grievous wound, our most incurable hurt. However impossible our restoration, our healing, may seem, our God is still greater. We are not out of His reach. Others may look at us or our circumstances and imagine that our God has left us. But He knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19). And if we are His, He will keep us forever and will not turn away from doing good to us (Psalm 121:7-8, Jeremiah 32:40). He will keep saving. He will keep restoring. He will keep strengthening. He will keep being our joy, our light, and our hope.
“Thus says the LORD:
‘The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the LORD appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you…
I will turn their mourning into joy;
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance,
and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,
declares the LORD.’ ”
Jeremiah 31:2-3, 13-14
“The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten…
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.”