by Mike Ratcliff
We’re in the middle of a crisis, a worldwide tragedy. Some tragedies are self-inflicted, but some just happen. In Lamentations we see that the Israelites are on the way to exile. This was a self-inflicted situation for Israel. Invaders had taken over their land and destroyed Jerusalem. This is a terrible time for the nation of Israel and the writer.
The writer of Lamentations writes to process his grief. He talks about the pain that is going on. Israel knows they have sinned against God, and the writer knows this is happening because of what they have done. They also know that they don’t deserve help, but they ask God for it anyway. Most of us aren’t suffering because of our sins, but we need to ask God for help anyway. If you are in a situation you have gotten into due to bad decisions that you have made, which we all make sometimes, ask God for help anyway.
The writer of Lamentations is frustrated. See, how he feels in 3:16-18: “16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel, And covered me with ashes. 17 You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity. 18 And I said, ‘My strength and my hope Have perished from the Lord.’” Hopefully we don’t feel like he does, but if someday you do, remember this passage.
The writer follows up with verses 19-21 “19 Remember my affliction and roaming, The wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul still remembers And sinks within me. 21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.” It doesn’t seem like there is a place for hope at this point in the book. The writer is down, he’s tired, and the whole nation is falling apart. The invaders have taken over, and terrible things are happening. Things were in a mess for Israel, but he says there is hope.
The Israelites questioned their future. They were leaving their homeland, their cities that God helped them build. They were losing everything. In the midst of all this the writer says “there is hope.” As Christians we should see and feel hope. If not, read what the writer says in verses 22-28 “22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord. 27 It is good for a man to bear The yoke in his youth. 28 Let him sit alone and keep silent, Because God has laid it on him;”
There are always reasons to be thankful and to have hope. We take a lot of things for granted. We have a place to live, food, family, etc. God has compassion. He has compassion for those in sin and those in the middle of a pandemic. He loves us. He is faithful. We need to wait, pray, and be thankful!