No One Left Behind

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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For I will bring them from the north and from the distant corners of the earth.I will not forget the blind and lame, the expectant mothers and women in labor. A great company will return!

Jeremiah 31:8

Jeremiah 31 is a vision of the future day when the Lord restores his people, bringing them back to Israel. Not one of God’s people will be excluded from this return from exile. He will bring them from the ends of the earth and “will not forget the blind and lame, expectant mothers and women in labor” (31:8).

Why would these people be mentioned in particular? If you envision a literal return from exile, it would be difficult for these categories of people to make it home. The blind couldn’t walk for hundreds of miles without stumbling or getting lost. The lame couldn’t even walk. Expectant mothers, especially those soon to deliver, would find it difficult to make such a long journey. Ditto for women in labor, and even more so.

What all of these folks shared in common was an inability to be returned from exile unless they were helped, not just by God, but also by human beings acting in partnership with God. The blind would need guides. The lame would need to ride on animals or be carried. The same would be true for expectant mothers. And those who were in the midst of giving birth would need people to wait for them, and then to help transport them and their infants. In Jeremiah’s divinely inspired vision of the return from exile, the people come together, as a family, helping each other so that none would be left out.

We who are part of God’s family today, who have been adopted into this family through Christ, ought to have a similar vision of our corporate life. Though we’re not on a literal journey to our homeland, we are on our way to spiritual maturity, and ultimately to the Celestial City, to borrow a phrase from Pilgrim’s Progress. This trek is something we make not alone, but in partnership with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Along the way, all of us will stumble and fall. We will need help from our stronger fellow pilgrims. And, in times when we are strong, we will need to reach out and help those who are weak or have lost their way. Yes, it is God who brings us home by his grace. But this grace often comes as we extend ourselves to those in need, making sure that no one is left behind.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have there been times in your spiritual journey when you have needed special help from your brothers or sisters in Christ? When? How did this help come? Are there people in your life whom you need to help in their pilgrimage? How are you bearing them up? What else might you do for them?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, when you bring your people home, you don’t leave anyone out. What a wonderful reminder of just how much you care for each one of us . . . even me. Thank you, Lord, for being the God of all people, not just the strong, the rich, or the privileged.

Help your people today to reflect your concern for those who are weak, those who struggle in their journey to spiritual maturity. Give us eyes to see all of our sisters and brothers, especially those who are weak and needy, those who might easily be forgotten. May our hearts be open to the poor and the oppressed, to those who are so easily overlooked.

Show me, Lord, whom needs to help today. Keep me from being so preoccupied with my own spiritual condition that I fail to see or value the needs of others. May I reach out with your mercy to the least of my brothers and sisters, even as you have reached out to me.

In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.