Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 (NRSV)
The prophet Jeremiah, from whose book the above quote is taken, knew what it was to live in uncertain times. Truth is, with a very small amount of research it becomes obvious that a great deal of human history has taken place in times that are uncertain. As humans we don’t like this. As humans (at least most of us), we prefer stability and predictability that we can build upon to create the kind of lives that make us happy, productive, contented members of society. And while most of us have had personal circumstances that have tested us, and challenged our sense of equilibrium from time to time, generally over the last number of decades we have been able to count on the world around us as a relatively predictable place, at least that is my impression.
In Jeremiah’s time, they lived under a constant threat of a Babylonian invasion, which of course, eventually did happen, and would take from the children of Israel their leaders, and their very way of life. Yet even through years of predicting this sad fate, as Jeremiah invited those around him to reflect on their lives and their faith, he concurrently offered God’s people hope, believing that despite everything that was taking place, health and healing were possible.
As I read the verse above I felt both a keen need and a desire to know “the great and hidden things that [I] have not known”. In point of fact, I have lived a life of wanting to know and understand more. I think perhaps that during these times of COVID-19, we all may be feeling the same as questions abound. When will this all end? When can we get back to normal? Is there a normal anymore? Just how will the next number of months play out before us, particularly as a faith community? Jeremiah reminds us that in the midst of all the uncertainty, we need to remember to call out to God. In the midst of looking for answers to both our personal and our global challenges, even with a variety of worries and concerns nipping at our heals, we would do well to continue to call out to God. And the answers, the “great hidden things”, what about those? A large part of our calling out to God, is opening ourselves to listening, in fact asking for help in listening, to hear God all around us speaking in ways that may at first be unexpected. As we dance with the many questions of our current situations both personal and communal, can we expand into that form of listening that is expectant, and hopeful, allowing the “unknown” to gradually break in upon us in a whole variety of ways and realizations? I think that we can. I think that we must as we give ourselves consciously to a way of being where despite uncertainties on many levels, we affirm God as the one who steadies our boat, and the one who will eventually bring us into that place of health and healing, that place for which all of our hearts long.