September 7, 2019

September 7, 2019

September 7, 2019
Jeremiah 17:14-27
by Jake Herron
Clergy of Apison UMC (Apison, TN)
Hiwassee District

 It has been just over a year since I lost my hero. It has been just over a year since the man I have looked up to for the last 34 years died. It has been just over one year since the man who has always showed me how a God-honoring marriage is lived out, who played sports with us growing up, who shared nightly devotions with us, who encouraged us, taught us to forgive, was always there to offer advice on how to be an amazing dad, who taught me how to draw close to and follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in all aspects of daily life died. It has been just over a year since I have been able to call him, to let our 3 kids facetime him or have visits with him. No more unique and special surprise presents for birthdays or Christmas, no more hikes in the woods, no more shared love of Virginia Tech football game days (a picture of two such trips sits in my office).

Yet, in our family’s loss of my dad, I can still find joy. I can find joy in the memories I have of him. I can find joy in all the aforementioned ways he showed God’s love to us. I can find joy in the midst of this sadness, in the midst of this obstacle in life, because of the grace God has for me. This same grace and love are both what is present in Jeremiah the prophet we read about in today’s scripture.

Jeremiah has compassion on the people of God, even though they do not listen to him. Even though they will not return to God. Even though they hold him with contempt. Jeremiah still loves them and has compassion for them. He is still able to serve God with this compassion because, as we see in verse 14, he knows when he asks, God will save and heal him. He knows when he calls upon the Lord, he will be restored, he will be given the grace and ability to face whatever he must face as God’s prophet in the world. He knows the Lord will empower him to serve him faithfully and be who God has called him to be, even in the face of such tough obstacles in his life and in the culture around him.

With all the pain and suffering of loss due to death we face, we must remember the words of Jeremiah and the confidence he has in the Lord, which we read in verse 14: “Heal me Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Even in the midst of our suffering today, we can call on the name of the Lord, just as Jeremiah did and he will heal and restore us, just as he did for Jeremiah. I can rejoice in the midst of my pain and loss for I know my dad is healthy and happy in heaven, and some day, thanks to Jesus, we will join him!