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In the mid-19th century, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. She wrote it to show America the horrors of slavery. One practice that especially galled her was to see slave mothers grieve as their children were snatched from them and sold to another plantation. It reminds us of the scene of ancient Israel gathered at Ramah, about to start their trek into exile (Jeremiah Chapter 31). Jeremiah told them that even though Babylon would oppress them in the short term, one day in the future God would change their fortunes. In that future day, their tears of repentance would cause God to show them mercy and let them return home. Jeremiah prophesied that on that day they would “sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone.” God said, “I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing. I, the Lord, have spoken!” These promises from God would give them hope in difficult times. And when their fortunes improved, they could know that it was God who did it. So today, God’s people often endure difficulty for a night, but they do not despair; they know that joy will come in the morning. We know that our God who promises joy will not disappoint us.

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