Tonight I find myself still in a situation that seems hopeless. That could literally, once again, change my entire life. I had hoped that today would bring some resolution, yet it has not. And so I must continue to wait. Wait, and pray, and fight to keep the fear from paralyzing me from doing the daily and necessary things that I need to do.
I’ve never really considered the book of Lamentations before. Not really. I know the basics, (well, I had to look them up): It is thought that the book was written by the prophet Jeremiah, “lamenting” the destruction of Jerusalem. I then, of course, had to look up the word “lament”. The definition for Lament is:
I would not say that I have forgotten what happiness is, not at all. But I would say that right now my soul is bereft of peace. There is no peace in my soul in this situation.
But I kept reading Lamentations 3, expecting more of the same, writing out the verses that applied to the state of my soul, when suddenly everything changed. The entire lament changed. I ran into a verse, and verses, that I had not expected. I ran into hope.
21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will 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 wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Here, right in the middle of this lament, is hope. Undeniable hope. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” As I slowly read over and over again this words, and started to write them out, over and over again, there was a warming in my soul. This must be truth. No matter what happens, no matter what tomorrow brings, or next week brings, the love of my Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. Tomorrow they will be new all over again. Monday morning, a critical day for this situation, his mercies will be new once again.
And verse 26: “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” We are not a people that like to wait quietly. We are not a people that want to wait. We are impatient. I am impatient. I am having a very difficult time, a very, very difficult time waiting quietly for the salvation of the Lord in this situation. Yet here it is that it is good, it is good that one should wait quietly. And so I wrestle with that. I kick against it. My rebellious soul, well, it rebels. “No God, I do not want to wait quietly! I need your mercy now!” Just like a 2 year old demanding his or her way, I stamp my feet and demand that God act now. But as I write this verse over and over and over again, I begin to realize that what looks like salvation from the Lord to me, may not be what God intends. And I am crushed all over again. But I can not deny scripture. I must trust that scripture is truth, and that this is a verse of hope. That these are verses of hope. And that I must wait quietly, that it is good to wait quietly for the salavation of the Lord.
As I read on, I come to these verses:
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; 33 for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.
While at first glance, these verses may not seem to carry the hope as do the verses above. But when you tear them apart, there is hope here. The Lord will not cast off forever. He is a righteous God, He will not tolerate sin. But He will not cast off forever. And verse 32: though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance–the ABUNDANCE–of his steadfast love. A father, at times, must cause his children grief. If he did not, then he wouldn’t really love them. But even in causing his child grief so that they will learn, he will also have compassion on them, because of his overwhelming love for his child. That is the way Fatherhood is supposed to work. And so it is with our heavenly Father.
The rest of chapter 3 is well worth reading, though I won’t expound it here, this post is already too long. But it gives excellent examples of confession of sin, a passioned plea to return to God, and the beautiful truth that God does hear. He sees and knows.
I never expected to find hope in the midst of a lament. But then why should I be surprised? My God is a God of hope. Each time I have reached a point of complete hopelessness, He has rescued me from that darkness. And so I will try to wait quietly for His salvation, and I will try to trust that life and my future are in God’s hands, and His alone. And that this is the best place for them to lie. I am still incredibly fearful, I am still anxious. I am still pulled strongly to hide away from the world as a recluse. But I will work on quieting my soul before my God, at His mercy, for He is my Father and He knows best.