Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jeremiah was a … Hamster?

Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

My son, Brian, had a ruptured appendix, which led to complications requiring three hospitalizations and surgical procedures. It also caused him to miss three months of work. While trying to convalesce at home, I felt a sense of quiet gloom in the house that certainly was not a good environment for Brian's slow recovery. Then I remembered happier days of their childhood when Brian and his younger sister Genevieve would joyfully and lovingly take care of their pet hamsters. So I asked a friend, who was a hamster breeder, to select a baby hamster who displayed gentle and temperate qualities that would make a good pet for a recovering patient. The warm and fuzzy little creature came to our home, and my son named him "Buddy". But I gave him the name Jeremiah with the belief that he would like the prophet bring a message of hope during dark times. So Buddy Jeremiah (BJ) entered our lives. The loving attention he attracted and the special love he offered proved to be just what the doctor ordered.

Jeremiah, dubbed as the "weeping prophet", was living in the dark times of his nation, Judah. The people were rebellious against the Lord and Jeremiah was given the message that predicted their punishment - capture and exile by the Babylonians. The kings were unrepentant, the other prophets were giving false prophecies and Jeremiah was imprisoned for his message. Yet, the Lord also gave Jeremiah a message of hope, to take place after their sufferings, a hope and a future of restoration for those who love Him and seek Him.

Are you facing the dark seasons of your life? Perhaps physical illnesses, loneliness or separation from loved ones? Remember the plans that the Lord has for you, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." It is the same Jeremiah who wrote in Lamentations 3:22, 23: "Because of the LORD's great love, we are not consumed, For his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness."

We have so many reasons to hope: God loves us greatly; He is unfailingly compassionate; and He is faithful. Our little hamster, Jeremiah, reminded us of this truth as Brian recovered and returned to work after 3 months. Jeremiah continued to remind us of God's promise of hope for the 3 years he lived in our home after Brian’s recovery. On the night that Brian and I attended the hamster’s death; I cupped his cold, almost lifeless little body in my hands and whispered, “I love you, Jeremiah." Suddenly, I felt his body heave in what seemed to be one last effort as if to say, “I love you all, too. Remember the God of hope and love who brought me to you"

Elaine Eng, M.D.

Dear Lord,

You showed us unrestrained love and hope in suffering, crucifixion and resurrection. Help us to remember this great hope You give us in the dark times of our lives. And may we look for the light and hope of restoration both on earth and in heaven. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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