Every night, there’s a pretty standard post-dinner scene that plays out in my house. Some nights it goes better than others, but almost always, someone ends up in a timeout or has lost a privilege. I’m not asking for much. Brush your teeth, put your pajamas on, stop running around. But to a very independent 3 year old and her impressionable 18 month old brother, it is seemingly impossible to comply with family expectations sometimes. And so the Elsa doll ends up in my room.
Multiply that by millions of people, over many centuries, and so many real, complicated, and intricate issues, and, man, I can’t even begin to imagine how exhausted or frustrated God must be. It’s fun and easy to show sweet and tender love when everyone is listening and being kind. But when the listening ears fall off and the shoving and general disobedience begins…it’s so hard. It might seem easier to start over, but that’s not really an option. So we turn to tough Love. Merriam Webster defines it as “love or affectionate concern expressed in a stern or unsentimental manner (as through discipline) especially to promote responsible behavior.” There are many times where God has displayed tough love for His people, and this passage from Jeremiah certainly highlights it. The Lord tells Jeremiah to tell the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.” He’s very clear; there’s no room for misinterpretation. Such wonderful things await us, but we have to keep the course.