(Today’s post by Joshua Jones)
As we have been reading through Lamentations, we have definitely seen this definition of “lament” take place. Through the first two chapters, we have seen the prophet Jeremiah writing about the pain and suffering that he sees in his people, as they have been exiled from their own homes because of their sins. Jeremiah doesn’t just write about the pain and suffering, he is experiencing the pain and suffering of his people as well.
In today’s passage, we see Jeremiah’s personal pain. Seeing his own people suffering, the prophet writes:
“I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.” (vs. 1-3)
“He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” (vs. 16-18)
Whoa, those are strong words. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I can honestly say I have ever forgotten what happiness is. Jeremiah was in a rough spot.
However, he doesn’t stop there. After expressing his despair, Jeremiah finds another perspective on his current situation:
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to and end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (vs. 22-24).
A proper perspective is everything. Jeremiah, even though he was in utter despair, found a way to focus on what really mattered- the character and the promises of God. He knew that God had promised to prosper his people. He knew that God was enough to hope in, even in the most distraught times.
This perspective marks a shift in the laments of Jeremiah. Jeremiah still is in sorrow for his people, but we can see a renewed hope in the Lord towards the end of this chapter:
“You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.” (vs. 58)
Throughout our lives, we will encounter moments of despair, moments of frustration, and moments of doubt. It is in these times that we must remember who God is. Remember his promises, remember the hope that we have in Him, and remember his love for us. Just as Jeremiah, instead of focusing on our outward circumstances, when we focus on God, it changes our perspective of the situations that we find ourselves in.