Ezra: Reflections on Race & Restoration Day 7- Hope For The Future

I think God is intentional in showing us the end from the beginning. We are so short sighted. I think this is why He graciously gives us the book of Revelation. We need to know that He wins. We need to know there will be glory and that He is always good. We need that blessed HOPE.

Yesterday we reimagined ourselves. We imagined what life would be like on the other side. A greater America that is fulfilling its promises to EVERY American. Where this America is reaching its full potential and we are not settling for whatever is happening now. Where even those that are thriving still thrive and those that aren’t now will be able to thrive. In this America we harvest all that we have planted.

In the Hunger Games Series President Snow says, “Hope, it is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective, a lot of hope is dangerous.”

I think reimagining ourselves gives us hope. If we don’t have hope we get weary.
Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

At the beginning of our time together we saw that the people were asked to plant themselves. Seek the welfare of the city. In that same word from the Lord Jeremiah tells them that after 70 years they will get to return. Sure enough God keeps His promise. Don’t you think it was easier for them to plan themselves and do the work because they could see the end from the beginning and it gave them hope?

God’s word is clear. Zech 7:9-10
9 “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

This work is hard. It is exhausting. But it is God’s plan.

Let’s read Jeremiah again but let’s read a little more this time.
Jeremiah 29:4-7, 10-14
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
That verse hits different when we see more of the journey through the book of Ezra. When the middle was hard I bet they clung to that word. I bet they had it memorized and recited it when the Babylonians were actin up. I bet they imagined what life would be like when it was all over. I bet they had hope. Hope. Focus on hope.

I just know America can be better. I know she needs to be held accountable for her actions. Yes, we aren’t where we were but we aren’t where we should be and we have to fight the iterations of oppression that keep marginalized people from prospering. To fight that fight we have to have hope.

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”- John Lewis

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