A WORD TO A WEARY WORLD
(Editor’s Note: “A Word to a Weary World” was published on the first day of Advent by Pioneer Drive Baptist Church. John Whitten is lead pastor of The Gathering at the church)
By JOHN WHITTEN
Our world is weary. We tire of the depressive headlines, divisive tactics, and depleting challenges. Our world is weary.
In the thirty-third chapter of the book of Jeremiah, God’s people were weary, too. They were caught between a rock and a hard place; squeezed between the power hungry nations of the Assyrians to the north and the Egyptians to the south. Jeremiah, the prophet, is in jail but God uses him to deliver a word to a weary people:
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise made to the people of Israel and Judah. “‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.” Jeremiah 33:14-15
God’s word to a weary people: “The days are coming.” A word of hope for a weary world.
Advent is a season of waiting with hope. Advent is not a season where we arrive, but a season where we prepare for an arrival. We place ourselves with the weary people of Israel who are awaiting the Messiah’s arrival.
Have you found yourself awaiting an arrival? A package in the mail? A letter from a loved one? A family member at the airport? Has waiting ever made you weary? In 2012 Elya and I found ourselves waiting on that child we so desperately longed for. Our excitement turned to discouragement quickly when we found out we had miscarried our first child. The day we were waiting for wasn’t there [yet].
Hope means that we believe in spite of the evidence and then watch the evidence change. Our faith gives us the ability to act in hope, despite how things look. God knows your specific situation and God brings hope to your situation. Hope is not that God guarantees a life of bliss and perfection but that in all seasons, trials, and circumstances…God is with us. Theologian Juergen Moltmann writes, “Genuine hope is not blind optimism. It is hope with open eyes, which sees the suffering and yet believes in the future.”
The world “thrill” comes from two words; hole, and through. The word hole references a nostril, which provides an opening for air to sustain the body. The word through carries imagery of something piercing. A thrill is a piercing shivering, exciting feeling.
I’ll never forget the thrill that came the day we found out we were pregnant with Sam, and the thrill that came the first time I held him.
Jeremiah’s word to a weary people would bring a thrill of hope; an exciting feeling that God was not done with His people. In fact, He was readying them for an entirely new work. “The days are coming,” when God will fulfill the good promise and make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line.” Each spring the bud begins beneath the surface, and then begins to emerge, and finally shows all its beauty.
If you are waiting and weary you are in good company. God’s people are a people who wait—with thrilling hope. As long as God is involved nothing is helpless or hopeless. Hope is Jeremiah’s word to a weary world. May you experience “The Thrill of Hope” this Advent season.
John Whitten is the husband to Elya and the father of Sam, Sarah, Savannah, and Simon. He serves Pioneer Drive as Lead Pastor for the gathering.