Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Sunday, October 19

If you turn back, I will take you back.
—Jeremiah 15:19

The family is in the midst of a donnybrook. The estate needs to be settled, but each inheritor seems to have a separate agenda. Each stands on principle, each is afraid of compromise, and each is keeping score.

Everyone knows it shouldn't be that way. Everyone knows down deep that there are other avenues. But the battle is so heated, and the arguments so sharply defined, they are on the verge of wishing it would “go away” before turning it over to lawyers.

At Bible study we hear the story. And we realize it isn't “her story” or “his story.” It is our story as well. What happens when one person's “yes” is another's “no”?  And what happens when the argument isn't between brother and sister, but between us and God?

Jeremiah has been arguing with God. In fact, he has just said to God, “Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail.”  And so, what will happen next?  Does the argument spell the end of a relationship?

The eight words God speaks to Jeremiah make it clear that both need to relent. Jeremiah is to take the first step, and then God takes the second step and welcomes Jeremiah back home. Both have something to do. It can only happen if both value the relationship. It is the connection, not the argument, that counts.

When we forgive others, we do so because of our connection. Brothers and sisters may argue, but in the end they remain brothers and sisters. Whatever builds that connection is to the good; whatever severs it leads away from life.

“What can I do?” asked the woman at Bible study.

Perhaps it would be best to ask, “Is this our best?” Surely the disconnect is not our best. And surely there are steps that can be taken to set things right. And surely there is something both sides must do.

“If you turn back, I will take you back” turns out to be a promise that blesses even the most difficult argument.

Almighty God, forgive us when we are so “right” we just have to be wrong. Bless the connections that bring us life, and help us mend them when they have gone awry. For the promise of your presence when we turn back, we are a grateful and thankful people. In Jesus name, Amen.