The Paperwork of Hope
Jeremiah said, “The word of the LORD came to me: Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’”
—Jeremiah 32:6–7 (NIV)
JOHN EDGERTON | Let me set the stage: a great army from Babylon is encamped about the city. Civic leaders are paralyzed, religious leaders flailing, the people panicking. Disaster is certain and the people will soon be sent into exile for generations. And at the height of narrative tension, the book of Jeremiah describes . . . a detailed real estate transaction. Like, seriously detailed. They weigh silver, write the contract, describe exactly how to store the contract. It goes on and on.
What is going on here? Did Jeremiah have a side-hustle with Coldwell-Banker?
No, Jeremiah knew that the people needed hope. They needed tangible signs that there was a future for them. And Jeremiah gave that to them by buying a field that was soon to be conquered by the Babylonians. Some might call it throwing good money after bad. But Jeremiah was buying the most precious thing there is: hope.
Signs of hope in the face of disaster are not always dramatic. They rarely are. Hope can look like taking a small stand for your own dignity. Like taking the time off that you’ve earned. Like saying “no” to open up space for the “yes” that really matters.
Hope is like a prophet investing in hope instead of buying into despair. If you need hope, look to the humble things. Hope is not a military banner, it’s a handmade protest sign. Hope is not a golden crown, it’s a crocus poking up through the snow.
PRAYER Holy God of the generations, bless us with hope.About the Writer:
JOHN EDGERTON is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.

Source: “Running from Empty” | 2023 Lent Devotional by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, made up of United Church of Christ ministers and writers who collaborate on resources for people in the church, outside the church, and not sure about the church.