Friday, August 26, 2011

Hope in Pain

I'm reading through a 2-year Bible plan and today, I started the book of Lamentations, most likely written by the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah was not the luckiest of prophets. He was the one chosen by God to pronounce God's impending judgement and discipline on His chosen people. Jeremiah was the one who fore-told, and then witnessed the fall of Jerusalem. In his weaker moments, Jeremiah even accused God of "deceiving him" (see chapter 20). And yet the word of God within Jeremiah was something he couldn't keep to himself even if he wanted to...("his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."). For these reasons and more, Jeremiah is known as the "weeping prophet."

All that to say, Jeremiah was not a happy camper when he wrote the great lament. He "told them so" and they didn't' repent, and so he gets to witness first hand what it's like to receive judgment from the hand of God. And yet, in the midst of all of that, Jeremiah writes these words;

Yet this I call to mind,
   and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
   therefore I will wait for him.”

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
   to the one who seeks him;
    it is good to wait quietly
   for the salvation of the LORD. (Lamentations 3:21-26)


It is easy to have hope in God in a time of blessing. But how much harder to hold onto hope when it seems all hope is gone? Here is Jeremiah sitting in the midst of his darkest moment, writing words of hope.

This got me thinking; how many of us have that kind of faith, that in the midst of our darkest trials, tests, moments, we can remember and cling to the grace of God? There are times when there is nothing we can do but wait and hope, trusting in the character of God to bring comfort, deliverance, or justice.

If you're in one of those times, do what Jeremiah did; call to mind the truths about who God is. There is none like Him, and His love is great.

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