In case you haven’t noticed, times are kind of hard right now. At our house, it is a double-whammy. In the writing world, two of the magazines I wrote for last year ceased publication — one of them just after publishing my article, the other one just before my articles were published. This is discouraging. My day job is in the healthcare field, which isn’t experiencing a great deal of stability just now, either. A sizable chunk of our annual income was chopped by 20% today thanks to Medicare reform.

But, any time I start to feel concerned about the prospects for our future, I think of the good prophet Jeremiah. He has so many things to teach us about the mercy and faithfulness of God. The one I’m thinking of today takes place while Jerusalem is under siege from the Babylonians. Jeremiah is in jail for telling the king things were going to go this way, and the city is in great despair.

The king asks Jeremiah why he keeps prophesying these terrible things and here is what Jeremiah says: (my paraphrase) “Well, God told me things were going to get worse. In fact, the worst is actually still to come. But… just before this mess began, God told me to buy a field in Israel and to put the deed in a clay pot that would last a long, long time.”

That didn’t seem like a very good plan to the king. Buying property in a doomed land sounds a little like starting a freelance writing career in the middle of a recession. But God gave Jeremiah this promise after he signed the deed: For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.’Jeremiah 32:14-15

God went on to tell Jeremiah how he would restore the fortunes of His people and bring them back into their land. He even promised that He would convince them to worship Him once again.(He didn’t exactly say when) So, Jeremiah bought the field, and stuck the deed inside the clay pot which he buried in a safe place. And he lived his days out in hope. Even when they threw him in the well. Even when they sent him away to Egypt. Even when all the bad things he had prophesied came to pass. Jeremiah lived in hope, because he knew the good things would happen, too. Someday.

I’m not going out to buy land today, and I don’t even own a clay pot. But, I’m going to keep writing and sending things out to the magazines still in business. And we are going to keep giving patients 100% of ourselves, even for 80% of the price. And, most of all, I’m going to keep living in hope, because, as my husband always reminds me, “I’ve read the end of the book. We win.”