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hope in hard times


Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.”
Lamentations 3:19-21

Today’s verse passage is part of the prophet’s (probably Jeremiah) expression of deep anguish and sorrow. Like Job, the prophet experienced devastating loss and indescribable opposition and hardship. In both instances, these faithful men of God felt that the LORD was far from them in their great distress (Job 23:8-9; Lamentations 1:16). The difference of course was that Job’s time of trial and testing was undeserved. In that he suffered for his faithfulness to God and moral uprightness in the world, Job makes an appropriate type of Christ. In the days of the lamenting prophet, however, things were different. Despite God’s continual warnings, the nation of Judah deliberately and intentionally drifted away from God and into all kinds of perverse pagan religion, philosophy, and practice (Jeremiah 25:5; 44:4). As promised, the LORD sent a ruthless and merciless invading army to decimate Judah’s capital city, Jerusalem, and take its inhabitants captive (2 Chronicles 36:17-21; Leviticus 26:14-39). Though most of us in our local assembly have never experienced such a thing, we do know what it is like to sin against God to our own hurt. The Lord chastens whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6), and many of us understand the deep regret that comes with breaking God’s commands and suffering the promised consequences. This is what the prophet was feeling as he penned the Book of Lamentations. Even in the midst of these hard things, however, the man of God still apprehended a shaft of light from above intruding into his darkness. That light is called the love, mercy, and forgiving grace of God. Recalling to mind his humbled state and troubled spirit, the prophet had hope. How can this be? The prophet understood that God regards the lowly state of those who are humbled, repentant, and of a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 66:2) The high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, and Who dwells in the high and holy place, is also He Who lifts up the spirit of the humble, and revives the hearts of those who feel crushed (Isaiah 57:15). The lamenting prophet began to take courage, recognizing (as we ought to recognize in our circumstances) that though we may be struck down, by God’s grace we are not destroyed (Lamentations 3:22; 2 Corinthians 4:9). He understood that our God is faithful and that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). “The LORD is my portion, saith my soul;” wrote the prophet, “therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him” (Lamentations 3:23-25). Let us fully trust in our God to forgive and to restore, and to have us walking in newness of life once again.

God bless you,

Pastor John


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