Connections 10.16.2022: The (Im)possible Dream

Jeremiah 31:23-34

The books of the Old Testament prophets are sprinkled with visions through which God communicates to these dedicated messengers. We may be so familiar with the stories of prophetic visions that we are no longer impressed or amazed by them. Though a prophet like Jeremiah was willing to be God’s spokesperson and accept the high expectations and challenging to-do list of prophecy, I imagine he was still stunned when a clear vision for God’s people came upon him. I wonder if he went to sleep every night hoping (or dreading) that he would dream God’s dreams.

In Jeremiah 31, the prophet’s dream has been so delightful that he “awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me” (verse 26). After all the prophecies of judgment and grief, the divine messages of disappointment and anger, God’s visions are no longer keeping Jeremiah up at night. God has shown the prophet an astounding promise: the homeland will be “restored,” the people will be “satisfied” and “replenished.” Even after Jeremiah wakes, the vision lingers: the people who have been broken and exiled will experience building and planting, and a whole new covenant will bring them back into relationship with God. No wonder Jeremiah slept so well!

If only the building and planting, the restored homelands and replenished homefolks added up to a “happily ever after.” The story of God’s people—from the Garden to 2022, from the ancient tabernacle to the modern church—is nothing if not consistent: it is a story of restoration and destruction, of replenishment and waste, of coming close to God and falling away, of covenant made and broken and remade and broken again. It is a story of promise and redemption.

It is a dream of promise and redemption for a world where relationships and societies are still deeply damaged, where people are still scattered and isolated and angry and sad. Even all these centuries later, even for those who faithfully follow Jesus, Jeremiah’s vision still seems like an impossible dream. We may wish we could keep sleeping, and find our way back into that beautiful vision where God brings all things together in peace.


  • How do you think Jeremiah carried his faith in the vision—his faith in God’s promise—into his waking life?
  • We know from the rest of the biblical narrative, from centuries of history, and from our own lives, that this vision of complete restoration has never been completely fulfilled. What keeps you optimistic and faithful to God’s promise? What helps you not to surrender to despair when the state of the world seems so distant from God’s vision?
  • Do you feel led to contribute to creating a world that looks like the prophet’s vision?
  • How do you need to experience restoration or replenishment? How might you help bring restoration or replenishment to those who are living with damage and fatigue?
  • What might you need to do to fully be awake to the world’s needs so you can experience and share God’s promise?

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is the lead editor of Connections. She is a graduate of Samford University and Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and as a military spouse has had nine (at last count) different hometowns in the past 20 years. She and her husband Scott and sons Sam and Levi live in the Washington D.C. area. In recent years, Nikki has written Smyth & Helwys curricula as well as devotionals for and Baptist Women in Ministry. She weaves clergy stoles, knits almost anything, and dreams of making her dreadful novel drafts into readable books. She blogs about faith and making things at


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