Playing Hooky From Church
"'Watch for this! I will collect them from all the countries to which I will have driven them in my anger and rage and indignation. Yes, I'll bring them all back to this place and let them live here in peace. They will be my people, I will be their God. I'll make them of one mind and heart, always honoring me, so that they can live good and whole lives, they and their children after them. What's more, I'll make a covenant with them that will last forever, a covenant to stick with them no matter what, and work for their good. I'll fill their hearts with a deep respect for me so they'll not even think of turning away from me.
"'Oh how I'll rejoice in them! Oh how I'll delight in doing good things for them! Heart and soul, I'll plant them in this country and keep them here!'
"Yes, this is God's Message: 'I will certainly bring this huge catastrophe on this people, but I will also usher in a wonderful life of prosperity. I promise. Fields are going to be bought here again, yes, in this very country that you assume is going to end up desolate—gone to the dogs, unlivable, wrecked by the Babylonians. Yes, people will buy farms again, and legally, with deeds of purchase, sealed documents, proper witnesses—and right here in the territory of Benjamin, and in the area around Jerusalem, around the villages of Judah and the hill country, the Shephelah and the Negev. I will restore everything that was lost.' God's Decree."
Misty's song goes on to say, "How far will you let me go, how bad will you let me be?" How did we get there from the passion and devotion? Well, you can bet the change is on our part, not God's. There He is in Jeremiah pouring out judgments on His beloved people when out of nowhere He lets it slip that He's gonna make it all good in the end. He's really, really mad at the people for turning their backs on Him, and He's gonna let them have what they deserve, but then in His ultimate mercy, there's already a plan in His mind to reconcile. This seems so tender and sweet, like a nice little love story we watch played out on a DVD. But then reality hits and we realize that God actually does this for us, each of us, individually. God loves me, and even when I sit out of the game, I'm still on His radar. When I've done really stupid things that would make anyone else slap me in the face and leave me alone, never talking to me again, He comes back and loves me even better than before. Not because His love has changed, but possibly because I deserve it even less.
I love it because even when I can't be where He is, He comes to me. That seems crazy considering that God is omnipresent and omniscient and omnipotent. But how many times do we think that if we don't congregate on Sunday, we're out of luck? Yet, He's everywhere. Not that we shouldn't gather together as a body, but get real, He's wherever we are and He LOVES us. I absolutely love it when He comes to visit.