10 The Lord proclaims: When Babylon’s seventy years are up, I will come and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. 12 When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. 13 When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. 14 I will be present for you, declares the Lord, and I will end your captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have scattered you, and I will bring you home after your long exile, declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29:10-14, CEB
How can you believe in God at a time like this?
Someone sent me a Facebook post that is going viral this morning. The post was the author’s declaration that he was stepping away from Christianity because the God of the Bible was too angry and too violent. I hear this kind of thing a lot, and it surprises me.
Don’t get me wrong- I used to have that same opinion. Until I was required, in school, to spend a lot of time reading the Old Testament. Over time it became clear to me that for all the talk about God’s anger, the examples of this are a small minority in the Old Testament. Now, if you add in passages about God saying he will be angry then perhaps the numbers go up a little…but it’s still not a major theme.
This passage, it seems to me, is much more aligned with what we typically see in the OT. For a vast majority of it, God is a pushover. The people do whatever they want, get themselves into messes, and God bails them out. Until, finally, after hundreds of years of patience, God puts them in time out. Even when they’re in time out, we’re told that God does this because he has his eyes on a bigger picture: a peaceful world. His ultimate goal is peace.
I don’t know what is going on in the life of the person who wrote that post, but I would guess it isn’t good. I feel sorry for him. It makes me sad to think that of the hundreds, if not thousands, of verses in the OT that speak of God’s patience, his grace, his forgiveness, and his desire for peace, this man saw only hate. That is truly sad.