As the book of Jeremiah ends, Lamentations began. Lamentations are defined as the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping. After all the doom and gloom that Isaiah and Jeremiah bestowed on us over the past several weeks moving on to the book of Lamentations might seem unbearable. With destruction comes grief, sorrow and certainly weeping. However, there is more to this book than just the reminders of misery. As you read through the words, feel the heavy loss and sadness but pay close attention as you also find hope.
Remember my affliction and my homelessness,
the wormwood and the poison.
20 I continually remember them
and have become depressed.
21 Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
Jeremiah speaks of homelessness, poison, depression and wormwood (bitter and detestable). I wonder, how could one sit and remember all the bitterness of his life and still “call to mind hope”. Jeremiah knew God’s heart, he had witnessed His mighty love, seen His hand in the Master plan and called upon the love He knew God possessed for His people to change his frame of mind.
22 Because of the LORD’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
23 They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!
24 I say: The LORD is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in Him.
Jeremiah stops in the middle of his mourning to recall the Lord’s love, faithfulness and mercies. He remembers that his inheritance is in the Lord. Is it easy or difficult for you to stop in the midst of deep sorrow or trial and remember the truth about our Savior? Personally, I can struggle with keeping this front and center in my heart and thoughts when in the midst of trial, but to grasp and hold onto the fact that our Father’s mercies NEVER end and are fresh and new every morning fills my heart with so much hope. Let’s keep going.
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
to the person who seeks Him.
26 It is good to wait quietly
for deliverance from the LORD.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is still young.
Here, Jeremiah points out that God is good to those who seek and wait for Him. As we endure suffering it teaches, molds and strengthens our spirit.
For the Lord
will not reject us forever.
32 Even if He causes suffering,
He will show compassion
according to His abundant, faithful love.
33 For He does not enjoy bringing affliction
or suffering on mankind.
Lamentations 3:19-27, 31-33
Finally, we see the main reasons for hope are that Lord will not reject us forever. God may silence Himself from us for a while and present trying situations for us to learn from, but it will not last forever. Our God has an abundance of love that will override any sorrow or sadness because He does not enjoy bringing affliction on us.
These words from Lamentations describe one of the darkest times for God’s people, but we can still glean the lessons of hope it teaches when in the midst of suffering. God never changes and has more than enough love, mercy, compassion and faithfulness to overcome any affliction, suffering and hardship we may face. The secret to being able to tap into His mighty love and strength in the midst of it all is being able to stop and recognize all God has done and continues to do for us. His compassion never ends and His love endures forever. If we can shift our mindset as Jeremiah shifted his in verses 22-24, then we can find hope in the lamentations.
Today I pray for each person reading this who is experiencing unimaginable suffering, hardship or loss. May God penetrate your heart and show you His everlasting and mighty hope in ways you never imagined could come from your current situation.