“Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them and give them gladness for sorrow.
I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,
says the Lord.” - Jeremiah 31:13-14
For the last week at my in-laws’, there’s been a comically-oversized bowl of Chex Mix sitting on the kitchen counter. The “homemade” kind with real butter and without all the pretzels to fill out the bag.
And for the last week, I’ve made trip after trip to that counter. Anytime I had reason to be in the kitchen. Or anytime I could invent a reason. Or anytime no one was really looking.
I’ve always struggled with being able to leave food on the counter, on the table, on my plate. I enjoy the first few handfuls, but I keep going back. Long after I’ve had my “fill of fatness.” Until my joy becomes mourning.
Jeremiah’s prophecy is to those without a never-ending bowl of Chex Mix. It’s to those in exile, those in mourning, those struggling without. They are the ones that God is moved to save. Theirs are the cries God hears.
And yet there is a word of hope in this prophecy for me: my people shall be satisfied with my bounty.
Satisfied. God knows that having enough is not enough. Not when fear, and anxiety, and compulsion remain. Having enough is not enough, until you know it’s enough. Until you know you are enough, because God is enough.
God is enough. And I don’t need even another handful.
As you turn mourning into dancing, replace my anxious grasping with your satisfaction.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.