From what I’ve read so far, the book of Jeremiah does a commendable job of depicting a stereotypical “Old Testament God.” There are lots of warnings and ignorings of warnings, not to mention punishing, repentance, backsliding, and more punishing.

I had a solid reason for delving into this book as part of my “Read the Bible in no particular order” project. I know I did. But frankly, it’s pretty grim stuff. As I’ve made my way through it, I’ve kept thinking to myself, “Good Grief, is this book ever going to change its tune?”

Then I read Chapter 31!

A couple of snippets:

“For I will turn their mourning into joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow. I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, And my people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord.” – v. 13-14

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Refrain your voice from weeping, And your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord…There is hope in your future.’” – v. 16


I read that chapter and smiled, relieved and comforted (and happy for the Israelites, who finally caught a break). It was the night before Easter Sunday – how’s that for timing? Then, at Mass the next morning, Father Charles told the congregation in his Homily: “Hope has dawned!”

Again: hope.

I could write all day long and never cover all the symbolism and significance of Easter. So many grand nouns, so little time: Awakening. Resurrection. Rebirth. Faith. Life. Revelation.

I like this one: Opening.

On Easter and the days following it, we open. We open our minds to the possibility of miracles. We open our hearts to the idea of triumph, of faith being rewarded. We open our eyes to the splendor all around us – no doubt helped by the colors of early Spring blossoms, pretty Easter dresses, all those pastel Easter eggs and of course the oh-so-yummy candy.

Even if you aren’t the church-going type, doesn’t the world as a whole just seem to lighten and brighten on Easter?

I am so very, very glad to have celebrated this day in the midst of marathon tapering. Easter arrives, with its joy and brightness, after a period of preparation, sacrifice, maybe some introspection. It is at once a restoration and validation of hope. Sound familiar, runners?

From a morale standpoint, Easter is one spectacular marathon training aid.

Talk about eye-opening: as I dressed for a recent run, I realized that in the blink of an eye – when I publish this post, it’ll be just over a week – I’ll be milling around in Hopkinton, Massachusetts with thousands of other runners. We’ll all feel restless and excited. Some of us will be focused on a PR, some of us will be thankful simply to be there, some of us will have stomachs so nervous it feels like the butterflies are having a knot-tying contest. We will probably all be looking forward to sampling Samuel Adams’ 26.2 brew after the race. Or during. Whatever.

One thing for certain? All of us will hope.

And that’s a tremendous thing.

Happy tapering to all you April marathoners out there!


6 thoughts on “Hope

  1. Excellent post! A couple of thoughts. Hope is good and a real necessity for a marathoner on the verge of her run after all of that training and sacrifice. And as for hope, I’m a New Testament guy. I prefer its message over the Old. I think there is more hope in the New. Too much fire and brimstone in the Old. But to each her own. As for milling around in Hopkinton on marathon morning – what a great place to be! Good for you! Savor and enjoy! You made it! Is there any better place to be for a runner? As for having a beer while enjoying the run, you used to be able to do it. In the “old” days, before there were official aid stations, you had to rely on the crowd for water, etc., And it was like running through a smorgasbord – everything and anything you wanted was being offered to the runners as we went by – including beer! Have a good run – have fun – and most of all Enjoy!

  2. This is a wonderful message indeed! Some of those Old Testament books can get pretty heavy, but it’s great to find those refreshing chapters on hope, joy, and future promises mixed in. Best to you in Boston!!

    1. PS- I think reading through the whole Bible is a great goal. I did it once long ago, and it’s probably time to re-do. If I’m going to believe it, I figure I’d better know what it says. 🙂

  3. Shannon:

    According to Exodus even God recognized the futility of trying to get the Isrealites to behave and find the joy promised if they just would do that SO GOD tells Moses “they are a stiff necked people ” and shows his frustration and darkness dealing with his humans reserving HOPE for those who wish to follow his God’s will. God willing have a great race.

  4. Thanks you for your excellent post. I wish you a wonderful run and I know you will enjoy Wellesley. When I thought I was going to flunk out HBS 37 years ago, a buddy of mine and I decided to jump in run Boston. We finished and that experience wiped away all my fear and doubt and that gave me hope to finish school. Jeremiah 29:11 back to ya:)

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