From Sadness to Joy
You turned my wailing into dancing; you
removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
The Lord gives hope for restoration for those in exile in Jeremiah 30-33. They had been warned over and over of what would happen if they refused to repent. Now they were living with the consequences. As the exile became a reality, mourning and sadness became a daily experience for them. I want to focus in on a few verses and how we can pray.
This is what the Lord says, “Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted—for her children are gone.” But now this is what the Lord says, “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the Lord. “Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. There is hope for your future,” says the Lord, “Your children will come again to their own land.”
God, just as you gave the promise of return for the nation of Israel and told them not to weep any longer, we ask that you reward our children in the same way who are living in “exile”…in the distant land of the enemy. We ask that You bring our children back to their own land…they belong to You. Turn our sadness into joy. May they too say “I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.” (Jeremiah 31:19). You will say the same to our children as you said to Israel.
“Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the Lord. “I often have to punish him but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and will have mercy on him. Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again my virgin Israel; return to your towns here. How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the Lord will cause something new to happen—Israel will embrace her God.”
Two things I want to point out:
Our children and grandchildren belong to God and He loves them. They are King’s kids. They are never far from His mind. He longs for them to return and will have mercy on them.
I believe our prayers are a huge part of setting up the road signs and putting up the guideposts to bring them back to Himself. So keep doing your part!!
At this time for the Israelites, it is only a promise of return and restoration. The promise was fulfilled beginning in 538 BC with Cyrus’s decree of return. Our children are living in the in between…they have wandered and been taken captive by the enemy, but they haven’t yet returned. That’s why we pray that the promise God gave to the Israelites be the same promise He gives for our children who are living in exile away from their true home, turning our sadness into joy!! Turning their sadness into joy!!