Just like most of us, Jerusalem is lost in thoughts! She mourns the loss of her children who had been taken into exile; she feels desolate and finds herself drowning in misery and could see no hope of her children’s return. Like a mother whose children have been snatched from her, Jerusalem feels so empty since her children have been scattered to various places. She has lost control of the situation and does not see how and when things will ever change and be better. It was in the midst of this desolate condition that God raised up Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch, to prophesy to Jerusalem, urging her to take off her robe of mourning and misery, because God himself would soon bring her children back from the East and from the West, that is, from all the places where they had been scattered. She should remove the robe of misery and mourning and put on the robe of God’s glory and splendor; she should bear on her head “the mitre that displays the splendor of the eternal name” (Baruch 5:2). Why should she put on this glorious dress and the diadem of God’s name when nothing has changed? The prophet is asking her to step out in faith, trusting in what God plans to do for her: “God means to show your splendor to every nation under heaven, since the name God gives you for ever will be, ‘Peace through integrity, and honor through devotedness’!” Therefore “Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east: see your sons reassembled from west and east at the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them. Though they left you on foot, with enemies for an escort, now God brings them back to you, like royal princes carried back in glory” (Baruch 5: 5-6). What a marvelous depiction of how the future will be for Jerusalem. She has only to do one thing: BELIEVE and TRUST in what God has promised to do for her!
Faith is everything. Faith sees what will be without touching it yet; it receives and lives now that which still lies in the uncertain future. When we believe and trust in God fully and totally, that which lies in the future already begins to have positive impact on our present circumstances. This makes sense for, after all, it is self-defeating to keep worrying and drowning oneself in sorrow and misery over that of which one has no control. It is wisdom to know and understand that God is has the absolute control of all life and all history. Therefore, it makes even pragmatic sense to surrender to His invitation to let go of the misery and mourning we experience in our lives and look up to what He plans for us in the future. After all, God himself has authoritatively said: “I know my plans for you – plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you” (Jeremiah 29:11).
If you examine the deep sorrow and misery you have in your life, they largely come from the things or experiences or events you absolutely have no or little control of. Faith in God is an invitation to us to surrender our desire to control even the things over which we have no control. The Lord is asking you on this second Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Faith, to remove your robe of misery and mourning and put on that of God’s splendor and glory. I pray you would heed to God’s invitation. Amen