Lamentations, an often overlooked or less discussed book in the bible, is where my heart was drawn Saturday while driving home from my mommas. It was mentioned in a book I was listening to and it prompted me to go read it once I was home. While The Message is not my usual translation, it’s the one my kiddo is using this week, so it’s the one I’m using too.
In Lamentations 3 – Jeremiah openly shares his suffering. Jeremiah was a faithful servant who God called to prophetic ministry over 40 years and five kings of Judah. God spoke over Jeremiah from a young age and told him that from the time he was in his momma’s womb, God had a plan for him. This isn’t a history lesson on Jeremiah – I’m not nearly equipped to teach about prophets. I do feel equipped to teach about being a person called by God for a specific purpose, and who also suffers.
Lamentations 3 is broken up into three sections: God Locked Me Up in Deep Darkness, It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God, and God Speaks Both Good Things and Hard Things into Being.
I’m positive that each one of us can look at a season in our life, and maybe that season is right now, when we’ve felt like we were locked in deep darkness. Maybe it was a season we wrestled with God about this thing, or that thing, or all the freakin things. Friends, count yourself among those most anointed! We all find ourselves in the place of deep darkness and a full on wrestle with God.
How many times have we felt as if we were being walked right into the darkness? That our cried out prayers were locked up in some space never to be heard, and surely to go unanswered? How often have we felt knocked down, dragged out before everyone to be mocked, judged, or ridiculed? How many times have we just wanted to give up all together?
Jeremiah says in verses 19-24, “I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.
Sometimes we can look at our current circumstances, see absolutely no way out of them – but we cling to Him knowing that He is all we’ve got left. When everything else is gone, taken away, or stolen – He remains. He waits. He asks us to enter into quietness with Him; relationship. He doesn’t want to skirt us around the mountains we face; He wants us to plow directly through it, knowing He is walking with us always. He is tender for us. He loves us. His justice will prevail over us. When we call out to Him, He does hear us!
Sweet friends, we can’t always see and we rarely understand the works of God. We don’t see at the million foot view that He sees things. I wish we didn’t have to face some of the things we face. But we do. We live in a broken, sin-filled world. There is a plot to take us down! The enemy doesn’t so much need to disprove to us who God is, he simply needs us to believe that his way is better. More enjoyable. Easier to swallow and fathom. Just generally easier to plot through life.
A holy life won’t be easy. It will be the hardest thing we do, but it comes with the sweetest reward. And, as followers of Christ, what we have here is just a blip of what’s to come. His promises might feel far off and they may seem out of reach… oh, man… do I ever know it! WHERE IS MY PROMISE, GOD?? I wish I could tell you… “Hey, friend – here’s your promise. I found it just around that corner.” I can’t. And I won’t try. But I will encourage you to keep.going.
Continue wrestling about things you don’t understand.
Continue asking for clarity.
Continue asking for the next step.
Continue seeking Him above all things.
Continue to wonder.
Also – continue to pray expectantly. To hope expectantly. To remain in a posture of surrender. To have faith that surpasses all understanding. To remind yourself that God is good and you are loved.
He is good. You are loved.