Justice and Righteousness: First Sunday of Advent

Jeremiah 33:14 - 16

"'The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.'"


Justice and Righteousness

I AM OFTEN STRUCK BY THE TIMING OF GOD’S REMINDERS ABOUT HIS FAITHFULNESS. In this particular passage, the reminder of the promise of hope arrives right in the midst of the most desolate and bleak time. God’s faithfulness and promise of restoration can feel so distant in the face of current circumstances, but faith and trust can narrow that distance, bridging the gap between hopeful and hopeless.
Jeremiah was experiencing all the catastrophe and chaos of a city under siege whose destruction was imminent. He had been jailed, and witnessed death, destruction and bodies lying in the street. Yet, at this precise moment, he chose to hold onto hope, even going to the extreme of buying a bit of land and purchasing a field during this tumultuous time! He was able to look beyond his current circumstances and see God’s faithfulness rising from the ashes of destruction and trust in the goodness of God despite knowing that devastation was on its way.

Justice is often mistaken for revenge or getting what’s coming to you, but divine justice is equity realized. It is restoration and rebuilding; it is the promise of all things being reconciled no matter how desperate the current circumstances appear. We see this process mirrored in nature, with new earth being created after a volcanic eruption and new forests emerging from the ashes of fire. God’s justice is often like a slow rain as opposed to the cleansing flash flood we urgently demand in our emotional impatience. It requires that we endure difficult things for an unspecified time while holding onto hope as tightly as we can for consolation. Right now it does not take much more than a brief glance at recent headlines in the news to quickly immerse us and fallen world seems to reverberate all around us.

I remember my 10-year-old son discovering he could blur his own vision just by the way he focused his eyes on objects in the distance — much like the lens of a camera. It was like a newfound superpower to him as he rejoiced in his exciting discovery. I think of hope as being much like this, blurring our current vision of the dismal present so we can see with pristine clarity the promises of God in the distance. Does our faith today guide us toward hope in the promises of God? To pray for justice and restoration for all? Does it move us to adopt a posture of reconciliation? Do we hear the echo of God’s promises whispered between the headlines? Hold on, He has not forgotten you. Hope is coming. Trust Him, all will be restored. Do not allow your current circumstance to rob you of trusting Him. His faithfulness to you is eternal. He is coming—the Righteous One is coming. All that is lost will be restored. He is coming!

-Marcelle Giovannetti, LPC, CADC, NCC, adjunct intructor in counseling and Engle Center counselor