" Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. There is no-one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you. All your allies have forgotten you; they care nothing for you. I have struck you as an enemy would and punished you as would the cruel, because your guilt is so great and your sins are many. Why do you cry out over your wound, your pain that has no cure? Because of your great guilt and many sins I have done these things to you.......... 'But i will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the Lord, 'because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no-one cares.' This is what the Lord says: "'I will restore..... and have compassion..... the city will be rebuild on her ruins... From them will come songs of thanksgiving.... I will bring them honour.... You will be my people and I will be your God.'" - Jeremiah 30.12-32
I have always thought this is an incredible passage. I read it again today. It strikes me as incredible because God says to Israel that their wounds are so bad that they are completely incurable.. there is absolutely no hope for them... no one who can restore them, no way for them to be healed... literally NONE.. everyone has given up on them, they have no allies left... NO-ONE cares for them anymore... basically, according to what God says, there's not a hope in the World for them.. they are afflicted, in pain, wounded and crying out and their state is beyond healing, beyond a cure.. Not only this, but it's actually caused by their own sin, it's not just a case where they are suffering because of the sin of others, or because we live in a fallen World and sometimes affliction happen to us.... but they are guilty, they are actually to blame for this. If there is an example of an utterly hopeless situation then this is it. YET despite ALL this, God then says the most amazing and incredible thing... right in the midst of declaring how incurable they are, how sinful they are, He suddenly says "BUT I WILL RESTORE YOU TO HEALTH AND HEAL YOUR WOUNDS." Just like that. Despite everything, God then declares that actually, there IS hope after all... that even though they have hit rock-bottom, even though there is no hope left in the World, even though they are black in their sin, even though they can do nothing to heal themselves, God will still come and restore them. And the reason He gives for coming to them and restoring and healing them is this: because they are outcasts, because no-one cares for them. It's not because they have thousands of people pleading on their behalf, it's not because they've suddenly sorted themselves out, it's not because they've found some worldly way to be better... it's not because they've done anything great, it's simply because they are nobodies.. they are outcasts.. they are sinners.. they are afflicted... and no-one cares for them. God is simply demonstrating the absolute depths of His mercy and compassion and love and choosing to come and save and heal and restore them, just because He loves them and because it pleases Him to do so.
This honestly gives me such a sense of hope. I was thinking yesterday about how weird prayer is.. i was thinking about how some people might have thousands of people praying for them, but others may have never had anyone pray for them at all.. and i was wondering if the way God acted towards them depended on this. To be honest, i was thinking it seemed a little unfair, that God may show favour to one person because they have had so many prayers offered up on their behalf, whereas someone else, who lives all alone with no support and no-one to pray for them, may be overlooked.. but this passage suggests otherwise... and i'm really glad about that... as much as i value prayer and think we are called to plead on each other's behalf, i'm still so glad that God doesn't ignore those that no-one cares for, that no-one pleads for. He still sees them. He still goes to them. He still chooses to heal them.. even if not a single person on earth sees or cares. And i'm glad that even if sickness or afflictions are caused by our own sin (and obviously that's not always the case), but even if they are.. then there is still hope.. and God still promises to heal and restore and declares that we are still HIS people and HE is still our God.