The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles are sprinkled with glimpses of joy. But largely, they're books marked by radical disobedience, violence, and judgment.
God cares for his people, and they turn their backs on him. God loves his people, and they worship idols. Wicked ruler after wicked ruler rises up and leads Israel and Judah into rhythms of sin, punishment, and pain. Of course, there are exceptions — Josiah and Hezekiah, for example — but these books feel mostly hopeless. And as you come to the end of 2 Chronicles, they seem downright despairing. God's people are led into captivity. They're lost and helpless, stripped of their privileges, homeland, and national identity. They have nothing.
But God never, ever leaves his people without hope.
So 2 Chronicles doesn't end in despair. It ends in anticipation.
Let me briefly set the stage. The people of God are in captivity in Babylon. The temple, their sacred place of worship in Jerusalem, had been razed and destroyed. But God suddenly does something incredible in the heart of Babylon's ruler, Cyrus. God inspires this pagan king to re-build his temple and bring his people back to their homeland!
“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up’” (2 Chron. 36:23).
And that is how 2 Chronicles ends. God's people are coming home. There will be some sort of restoration. God is at work. In Judah's darkest moment, God did not leave them without hope. That's because he doesn't work like that, cruel and capricious. He is always working for the good (read: sanctification) of his people and the exaltation of his glory.
That was true for Judah and that's true for you. In your bleakest suffering, in your blackest sin, in your darkest night, God never withholds hope. If you turn from your sin, if you cling to his truth, if you love him, if you go to his Word, if you cry out for help, he will show mercy.
He will never leave you without the hope of restoration.