Read Jeremiah 34
Focus on verse 4-5
I remember back in elementary school, we used to think it was funny to tell good news, bad news jokes. They went something like this:
You wanna hear some good news? – You’re going for an airplane ride…but the bad news is – the plane is gonna crash!…but the good news is – you have a parachute! …but the bad news is the chute won’t open! …but the good news there is a hay pile below…but the bad news is there is a pitchfork in the hay pile…but the good news is you’ll miss the pitchfork…but the bad news is your also gonna miss the hay pile…and so on and so on.
It was great fun and probably increased our creative story telling ability to some extent, but it was only fun because it was not real. In real life it would be terrifying to find yourself in this kind of scenario.
As I consider the task of Jeremiah the prophet, I sometimes wonder if he felt like he was delivering a “good news – bad news” prophesy to King Zedekiah in today’s reading. The only difference was it was not funny, it was real, and it went something like this:
King Zedekiah, I have bad news from the Lord! The city of Jerusalem is going to be attacked by the Babylonians! …but the good news is the king of Babylon won’t kill you. But the bad news is he will burn the city to the ground. …but the good news is you will spared and die in peace and have a proper burial. …but the bad news is – you will die, and it will be in captivity in Babylon.
I have to admit that reading through the book of Jeremiah tends to give me a rather dismal view of the future, yet in the midst of even the most chilling pronouncements of God’s judgment – there is always that thin little thread of hope – always just enough good news for those who are perceptive enough to hear it.
Life very often can seem like we are living out the reality of a good news – bad news narrative, but if we choose to trust that God is good, we can usually find that thread of hope that God has placed there to feed those who trust Him enough hope to keep going. There are times when life is hard! When the darkness closes in and we wonder if we will make it to the morning. These are the times when we must make the choice to hold on to what we know to be true despite what our feelings are telling us.
There is a line in Star Wars IV movie where Luke Skywalker is learning the ways of the force from Obi Wan Kenobi, and Obi Wan says, “Trust your feelings Luke”. While there may be the odd time where our feelings are right, in the real world, I have found my feelings to be highly subjective and notoriously unreliable. On the other hand when I have chosen to follow what I know to be true according to what I understand of God and His word, things have typically turned out for the best. This is not to suggest that life is easier this way, sometimes choosing to do what I know is right in spite of what my feelings are telling me is the hardest thing to do, but it is always the right thing to do. Until the day when Jesus returns or I go to meet Him, I expect there will be days when I will have to face bad news along with the good news. What keeps me going is that I know that whether its good or bad, God is there to walk me through it, and because God is good…it will all turn out as it should.