August 2018

“I will restore you to health and heal your wounds”
Jeremiah 30.17 (NIV)

In chapter 30 of the book of Jeremiah, the Lord promises to ‘restore the fortunes’ of his people. He promises that the bonds tying them to captivity and servitude will be broken, and they will at last be free – free to serve both their God and their king. The effects of the trials they have endured will not pass so easily, however: the remembrance of past sins continues to burden them with pain and guilt. How are they to escape from this yoke, from the threat even of extinction?

The message that comes through the prophet is one of hope. First, their enemies will be defeated – the outward threat will be removed. Then they will be restored to health, their fortunes will be turned around and there will be a new ruler, one of their own people. They will flourish, and once again be able to dance and sing and praise their God. All this is possible because, through their darkest hours, God has been faithful to them: “I have loved you with and everlasting love” (31.3). And he will continue to be: “You shall be my people, and I will be your God” (30.22), promising a new covenant, both in the short term and, looking forward, to that brought in by Christ himself. (Hebrews 8ff).

The promise that we have in our Saying, “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds”, reminds us that any long period of trial leaves its mark on those who endure it. Severe illness, bereavement, life-changing events, stress and even routine trials of life can all cause us to lose heart and confidence. To be in good health is not merely to be without sickness – it is to be in a state where one feels able to rejoice, to sing and dance and give praise. And restoration to health is only effective if deep wounds that have been opened up are healed, in the complete sense of that word. We shake off the fear and anxiety we have experienced and immerse ourselves in the love and peace that God promises to us.

In this holiday time we pray that we can be especially open to boundless profusion and generosity of God’s love, which pours from him as light from the sun.