LAMENTATIONS 3:21: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: One simple verse – one powerful lesson! What is my attitude when I am in the midst of a difficult situation? When everything is going well, when I am in the midst of a time of blessing and abundance, it is easy to praise the Lord. It is easy to have hope. Yet, these are the words of Jeremiah as he stands in captivity, as he looks back on the destruction of Jerusalem, as he looks forward to an unseen and unknown future. From this place of lament he rises up and cries – “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope.”
What is it that Jeremiah called to mind? We read it in the following verses.
- “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” (Lamentations 3:22-27 ESV)
Jeremiah knew in his spirit, even though everything around him appeared to proclaim the contrary – “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases!” God’s love and mercy never cease, they never come to an end, they are new every morning! Jeremiah calls this to mind, and it brings him hope in the most difficult and distressing of situations. He knows each morning is a new beginning with the Lord. God’s faithfulness is greater than my present circumstance. I may lose something in this life – but I will never lose the love and mercy of the Lord. Because the Lord is my portion, along with Jeremiah, I will hope in Him!
This is a call to faith. This is a call to perseverance. Jeremiah goes on to proclaim – “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” When we are faced with difficulty, or when we are being disciplined by the Lord, it is good to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and to wait patiently for Him. The words of the writer of Hebrews echo this same exhortation.
- “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons….For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:5-8, 11 ESV)
Judah was in Babylonian captivity because of her sin. The Babylonian captivity was Judah’s discipline to lead her back to the Lord, to restore her in righteousness. Jeremiah, along with the writer of Hebrews, sees the love and mercy of God in this discipline. Jeremiah exhorts us to submit to it, and submitting, to trust in the Lord. The Lord will restore! The Lord will deliver! The Lord will reward those who through faith and patience diligently seek Him. In our times of difficulty, or discipline, we are called to trust in the Lord and to quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. And our faith assures us – the Lord’s victory will come!
- “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 ESV)
Lord, grant me the grace to trust in You and to give You praise – in all things! As I do, as I am surrendered to Your will, the enemy is defeated, and I am protected by Your great mercy and love. Lead me into Your peaceable fruit of righteousness. May I call to mind and rest in this hope each day –
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him”!
In Jesus Name!