I’ve been meditating on just one passage from Lamentations chapter 3 this entire week to the extent that it’s been impressed upon my heart now. I spend long hours travelling to work and back home and most often I use this time to pray and think about what God’s speaking.
Let me just say this before I get to what I actually want to share: The strength and truth that meditating on God’s Word infuses in your inner man is just profoundly inexplicable and most certainly irreplaceable. You can be encouraged through men of God, church services, worship sessions, Christian friends, etc. and that is very good. But the nourishment your spirit and soul gets from just hearing directly from God and understanding through His Spirit is just something else.
So, back to Lamentations chapter 3. Here is the passage that has me arrested (v19-v25):
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
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;
Lamentations, as the name itself suggests, was written in a time of crisis. The prophet Jeremiah wrote this book of his “laments” when Jerusalem had been destroyed. There is much pain, suffering and deep-set regret in his cries. He has found himself in a place of desolation and destruction with no sign of resolve or rescue and his wailings come from a place of genuine abandonment. Most of this book records his mournful dirge. But this particular passage gives us such lovely insight into the way that Jeremiah dealt with his pain.
In v. 19-21, he admits “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.” Often, the thing we struggle with most in times of difficulty is not so much the situation itself but our thoughts — reminding us of that situation. Our minds are major battlefields and the enemy attacks us most through thoughts telling us we’re afflicted, reminding us of the bitterness and making us feel downcast. Most times, we have no clue how to deal with these thoughts and succumb to them by indulging in them and having a pity party.
Jeremiah could’ve indulged in self-pity himself, but see what he says instead in v. 22 “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”.
Note that he doesn’t suddenly remember God but “calls to mind” God’s love, faithfulness and compassion to him. I see intent here. A deliberate act of choosing to bring to mind God’s great love. I almost leapt inside an auto with joy when I realised that that’s all I have to do when I’m struggling with depressing thoughts about any impossible situation in my life. Church, we need to start actively choosing to find hope in the fact that our God is more than faithful to come through for us. His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Today, He has new compassion and mercy for you and me. Unlike that He showed us yesterday. Let’s hang on to this hope every single day by choice!
Lastly, I love that Jeremiah said this, “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”. Can you believe that? He talked to himself. He spoke to his own spirit telling himself that the Lord alone is his portion and that he will wait for God’s timely deliverance. What a thing to do when surrounded by hopelessness! Our spirits are fashioned to be satisfied by God alone. It is our bodies that have needs that can be met only in physical, tangible ways. Most of our problems lie in not getting what we need to make it through our journeys here on earth. Let’s remind ourselves that our spirits will never need anything other than God to be satisfied and since we already have Him, let’s then remind ourselves we lack nothing. Talk about looking at things through the lens of eternity!
Wow. I am stirred in my spirit. I know a lot of us are expecting to see God make ALL THINGS NEW in our lives this month. How about we give Him a hand by having an ALL NEW attitude, much like Jeremiah, in times of intense struggle.