Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 2:4-13
Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:
What wrong did your ancestors find in me
that they went far from me,
and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?
They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that no one passes through,
where no one lives?’ –Jeremiah 2:4-6
When I worked with juvenile delinquents, I cannot tell you how many parents raised the question that God asks in our scripture today, “What did we do wrong?” There are no perfect parents except God, and some have more shortfalls than others.
Our work with juveniles ran the full gamut from stupid teenage acts to murder. I remember four boys, 15 and 16-year-olds who thought it would be cool to climb over the wall around a motel pool with a few packs of beer. They became more destructive the drunker they got until they had thrown all the furniture and umbrellas into the pool. The police arrested them, and they landed in court the next day for a preliminary hearing. Each had a parent or parents present who were missing work and not happy. The parents of three of the boys stood before the judge next to their sons as deals were worked out in sentencing to community service, being grounded for what the boys thought was the rest of their lives, and paying for the damaged furniture. The fourth set of parents, very busy professionals, rose when the judge called them forward and said, “Our son is out of control, you will just have to do something about him” and left. The seasoned judge was stunned. The fourth boy seemed more immature and vulnerable than the others. He followed the crowd not the other way around. The judge placed him in state custody, and we placed him in a wonderful foster home in another town while we tried to figure out what to do. The metamorphous was amazing. He bonded quickly with the foster parents, attended school regularly, became a good student, and developed healthy friendships. After the judge had read the report at the follow-up hearing, he ordered the parents to pay child support to meet the cost of foster care and let the boy stay with his foster parents.
We serve a Savior who will never forsake us even show up for court and stand beside us. Why would we ever want to put him in the position of wondering what he had done wrong?
Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we stray so far from you that you wonder what you have done wrong. Please do not give up on us. We know you keep loving us, help us to know that too. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved