1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him a second time: 2 "This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: 3 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'
For Jeremiah, for the prophet of the Lord as he looked around, it would have been easy for him to abandon his faith as so many before him. Like so many around him, he looked and he watched as the children of God, those who had seen great and mighty things at the hands of the Lord God Almighty, those who delivered out of the hands of the Egyptian masters, those who were handed victory over the Philistines, those who were given a great land, a land of milk and honey, forswear the promises of the Lord. He watched as they fell away, he watched as they abandoned their faith, and there, to their own demise, to their own destruction, they were carried off, they were carried off to foreign masters in foreign lands. And they thrived there, they thrived there bowing before these foreign masters, not even fully realizing that they were slaves, as they gave piece after piece after piece of their souls.
Yet as Jeremiah looked, Jeremiah couldn’t help but see the glory of the Lord as the Lord spoke to him. He couldn’t help but hear the voice, the voice of his God, talking to him, speaking to him, telling him great things. He couldn’t help but find himself amidst the majesty of His Heavenly Father, a Heavenly Father who cared for him and loved him, and there, there amidst even the most brutal captivity, even amidst the worst of situations, even as the world fell around him, prone to chaos and suffering, Jeremiah could not turn his back from the Lord, he could not avert his eye, he couldn’t pretend as if God wasn’t there. Instead, in all things, through all things, he gave glory to His name, he knelt before Him, he bowed his head in humble submission even as he saw the Temple in Jerusalem collapse, the glory of the kings fade around him, even as he saw foreign masters rise and fall. For through it all, and in it all, there was one constant, one universal, one transcending, encompassing truth: the Lord God Almighty, the Lord God of righteousness, was there. He was there to care for and protect His children, He was there to be faithful to them, to deliver them, to ensure that His truth transcended the ages, to ensure that His people were protected, guarded, loved and guided in all things and through all things.
We don’t often hear the voice of the Lord, not like Jeremiah did, so clearly speaking that we could make out the words whispered in our ears, we don’t hear the Lord like Samuel did, calling to him, we don’t see His face as St. Paul did on that road to Damascus, we don’t see His anger as a bolt of lightening hits the ground and the earth shakes all around us. We don’t see His presence in the same way that Jacob saw it as he wandered through the desert.
And yet, that doesn’t mean that God isn’t there, it doesn’t mean that He has abandoned this world or that He never was there. What it shows is that He works His ways in ways even more mysterious than we could ever imagine, in ways more mysterious and glorious and miraculous than even the prophets and the saints, the disciples and the apostles could have seen. For He is that ever-vigilant, ever-present, ever-moving force in the world that shows us great and wonderous things, and who there contends with the cause of the prophets and the apostles, who there contends with the cause of His children. He is the God who is ever-present in the struggles of the captives, the captives and the prisoners who are ripped from their homes. He is a God who works His ways as the innocence is ripped from those who just sought to live their lives, and who then found themselves the victims of weak and evil individuals, who use terror and hatred, fear and loathing, as their weapons. He is there to contend with the cause of the political prisoners and the religious prisoners, the sex slaves and the laboring slaves, the captives and the hostages, those who are treated as nothing more than cattle, their lives held cheap, their bodies bruised and broken. He is there to contend with their cause in all things, through all things as He was there with Jeremiah, as He was there in all ages, through all ages. He is there because He loves His children and has a purpose in all things for their lives.
Trust in the promises of the Lord, the promises He made to Moses, the promises that He made to Joshua, the promises that He has made to each and every one of us. Though we may not see that encompassing presence in all things and through all things in our lives as greatly as the prophets once had, He is still there, moving throughout this world, binding us together, linking us together, and bringing to the Lord God Almighty, our Heavenly Father who cares for us. Be of good courage, be of good courage and of strength, look to the power of His might and know that He shall contend with the cause of His children.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.