Chosen in Suffering!

Jeremiah 29:1

These are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

It must have seemed to the exiles in Babylon that they had been picked out by God for special rejection and judgment. Out of all their countrymen, they were the ones who got carted off to a foreign land where they would die and see their children raised among pagan conquerors. Sometimes in our lives as well come moments when we are pretty sure God has not only given up on us but slammed the door on our face in disgust as well. We can get to feeling so low that we assume God simply never wants to speak to us again. And yet, we find that it is not so, just as the exiles in Babylon did. For God did not abandon them. Rather he selected them for his special care and prophetic encouragement. It was to the dejected in Babylon, to the prisoners and exiles in the thrall of a great prince, that God specially sent word through one of his inspired prophets. Just where they expected rejection, God gave them his special oracles instead. In the same way, God sends his incarnate word, Jesus, to those who struggle with the chains of sin, grief, anger, addiction, despair, and death placed upon them by the prince of this world. Where we fear his judgment, he bestows his mercy. If you are feeling down, look up to Jesus hanging on the cross. There can be no pit you are in that he has not been in himself. There is no anguish he has not known personally. There is no death he cannot raise up to glory.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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