Jessica Albritton, Family Connections Minister LHBC
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I will hope in him.”
Have you ever had a meltdown? I’m talking real upset, hard to catch your breath, snotty nose, crying uncontrollable, meltdown. I hate crying, mainly because it is tabooed as a sign of weakness. Those that cry are labeled as emotional and not strong. It takes courage to be vulnerable, to let others in and allow them to see you hurting. That is why most people choose to suffer alone. Ella Wheeler Wilcox once wrote, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone: For this sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But it has trouble enough of its own.”
The time in which the prophet Jeremiah wrote the book of lamentations was not a time of joy, it was a time of sorrow and sadness. In fact, the book’s title can be translated to grief, sorrow, and extreme sadness. At that time in history the city of Jerusalem had been completely destroyed and over taken by the Babylonians. The Babylonians barged into the city, took all that they deemed valuable, wrecked the temple, enslaved the people, and set the place on fire as they left to go back home.
Jeremiah had spent his whole life pleading with the Israelites to turn from their sin and come back to the Lord. The people did not listen however and as patient as the Lord is, He finally had enough. God had enough of their blatant sin, selfish lifestyle, and idol worship. After a while the Lord allowed the Israelites to be taken captive and their homes left in shambles. In response to this Jeremiah put pen to paper and wrote the saddest book ever written.
What strikes me most about the book of Lamentations is chapter 3. Chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 all hold descriptors of the destruction that Jeremiah sees all around him. The lonely city, destroyed, scattered and ruined, far from God and in need of restoration. It’s a difficult read. But right in the middle of the book is chapter 3 where the writer shifts the focus to the faithfulness of God. Jeremiah sees sadness and destruction all around him, and while he is deeply grieved, he is also fiercely certain of the goodness of God. Jeremiah is able to see God’s mercy in the midst of the most uncertain of circumstances. In verse 22 the prophet writes, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” Jeremiah is confident that the Lord is still faithful and good, loving and merciful, even when his heart is so heavy and he can no longer hold back the tears. Even when Jeremiah feels as if his life is falling apart he proclaims the Lord as his true source of hope.
In his book “Shattered dreams” Dr. Larry Crabb articulates that tragedies in life are never random but instead a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story. The pain in life, the tragedies we face, help us to discover a deeper desire for God. This is not to say that the Lord causes tragedy but it certainly speaks to Him using it to draw His people closer to Himself.
When we encounter uncertain times in our lives we should turn and face what is certain, what we know to be true. Our hope should be in the God that we can trust. Though circumstances may seem bleak, we can rest in the fact that our life is not dependent on what our eyes can see but on the God who is our rock and defender, the one who has promised to never leave.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness. You are steadfast in the midst of life’s storms and I put my trust in you! Help me to look to you when uncertainty comes and remember your goodness when life seems to be falling apart. In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE FOR THE WEEK:
James 1:12- 12
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.