We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror.
The Greatest Generation did not hear the word “terrorist” very often. They did, however, become acquainted with terror. Every generation has.
Even during the times when a nation was at peace, such as Israel during the reign of Solomon, individual people still faced terror.
Terror has many faces. It can show itself in many places. It may threaten us with a bomb or a cancer cell. However, when we use the word “terrorist” today, we are most likely thinking of a person who intends to do grave harm to others. Whatever form terror takes, living with it is terrible.
But no terror is as terrible as the terror that the omnipotent God brings upon a people.
Jeremiah is labeled, “The Weeping Prophet.” A book of the Bible is called, “The Lamentations of Jeremiah.” He had much to lament. The Lord revealed to him the terrible times he would bring to his people, Israel.
The Lord warned many would fall before an invading enemy: “They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground.” There would be survivors, but many would be taken as prisoners to a foreign land: “Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the LORD Almighty” (Jeremiah 8:2).
When people wish they were dead, their lives are terrible.
Thus, the lament: “We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror.”
No hope for peace. No time to heal. Only terror. That’s a terrible time.
We need to understand why this happened. We need to ask if this could happen to our nation—to us.
Let’s take look at ancient Israel. The Lord had showered his blessings upon those people. With an abundance of crops and strong defense, other nations looked upon Israel with envy. The greatest blessing was the presence of the Word of God in its midst.
His Law mirrored his will. His promises brightened their future. The history of Israel was a record of his powerful faithfulness. They were living in the land “flowing with milk and honey.”
What went wrong?
The people. The people went wrong.
They turned away from his paths; discarded his Word; and came up with their own answers for the meaning of life, and their own sources of joy in life.
They rejected the Lord—and then, he rejected them.
But there was hope. Through the same prophet, Jeremiah, the Lord God told them, “I am with you and will save you, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:11).
Then he added: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
Almost unbelievable, isn’t it? Did he really do this for Israel of old? He did.
Would he make such forgiveness possible for us? Jesus did.
There are times in the lives of people and nations when it seems the sun is shining. Those are the days of hope and confidence.
Sometimes, overconfidence. Sometimes, false confidence.
It’s when the sky turns dark and thunder roars that we are more inclined to realize how vulnerable we are. How helpless we stand before powers that can destroy.
The holy God is one such power. He laughs at those who threaten him. He weeps for those who reject him.
We must stand in amazement to see how he used that awesome power, not to crush us, but to destroy the terrible death grip of sin.
We win! We live!
And prayers of thanksgiving fly up to our Savior.
The Lord God? He is the answer to all that is terrible.
Holy and merciful God, you are our guard and our friend. We know the times are perilous. We admit our failures, our sins. But with Israel of old, we look to you for forgiveness. Keep us from all things terrible. Deliver us from all evil. Amen.
Points to ponder:
- Does it seem that the world has become more dangerous? Isn’t that what Jesus told us to expect?
- Does it seem that our nation has taken a sharp turn away from God? What might lead us to that conclusion?
- What convinces us that the Creator and Savior God is in control?
Written and recorded by Rev. Paul Horn, WELS National Civilian Chaplain to the Military, San Diego, California.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.