Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable. That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed. Then I remember something that fills me with hope. Lamentations 3:19-21 (CEV)
This is the exact center of the book of Lamentations. These verses are found right after the description of the tragic scenes of despair and loss found at Jerusalem, for the nation and for the prophet. And in the middle of all the chaos and tragedy, the prophet found hope.
So what is it that gave the prophet hope?
The realization of who God is. Yes. The same God that he is blaming for all his pain and tragedy. The prophet realizes that God is still God. The same God that came through in the past is the God that he blames today.
When we blame God we tend to forget who He is. But when we remember who He truly is, it brings hope. Here is how he describes God:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:22 (NIV)
The poet remembered God’s compassion. Sometimes this word is translated “merciful”. He remembered the times that God showed love. In the midst of tragedy, we can’t forget that God is…
And I am so grateful for this. When I think back on my life, I realize that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for God’s mercy over my life. There are very few decisions in my past that have earned me the right to be a chaplain, to speak words about God on the radio.
And there is something else that the poet remembered.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentation 3:23 (NLT)
The poet remembered that God is…
Just like God had to judge, He also has to keep his promises. He can’t go back on His word. He will come through with what he has said.
To a certain extent this is encouraging. Can you imagine if God was not faithful. If one day he was one thing and another day something else. If he said to us, “Hey that whole thing about not stealing, yeah, we tried that and see that people are really having a hard time so never mind. Take whatever you want.”
God is a god we can count on to do what he has said.
And the most wonderful thing that you can count on with God is that there is always another chance. Everyday is a new opportunity to come to God and reconnect with Him.
You can never go so far that you can’t come back to God.
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:25 (ESV)
And the third thing that brought hope to the poet was remembering that God is…
Yes. Ultimately this God that I seem to be blaming for my hardships is a good God. I know it in my soul, but I am angry right now and I want to take it out on Him. But I know He is good.
When my wife does something or says something that hurts me, my initial reaction is to get angry and frustrated with her. I may even allow myself to think that she is a bad person. But I know that she is not. I know that she loves me. I know that she would never intentionally hurt me. This allows me to experience the pain, communicate with my wife, and strengthen our relationship.
This God that is hurting me is a good God that loves me. He isn’t wanting me to experience pain. He wants me to experience His love. I have to always remind myself of that.
What has God done for you in the past? I would love to hear your story. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to hear more on this subject, click on the video below to hear Chaplain Milton’s message “Embrace the Tears: Reviving Faith”.