Reading through Lamentations is not my idea of an uplifting time. It is not a book filled with wonderful thoughts on God and spiritual ideals. The book is called Lamentations because it is filled with Jeremiah – you guessed it – lamenting. It is understandable, he is writing as he watches Jerusalem fall to the Babylonians and many are killed or taken into slavery. It is not a good time for God’s people, and Jeremiah describes the utter pain and disappointment he feels. He knows that Israel was given every chance to live up to their calling as God’s people but because of their failures was paying the price for those sins.
As I was about halfway through reading the 5 chapters, and thinking to myself, why did God include this book in the Bible, I came to Chapter 3 verse 22 and 23
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
Talk about your change in perspective!
We use the phrase “every cloud has a silver lining” when we want to convey that even in a bad situation there is some good. Here in the middle of Jeremiah’s lament he pauses from focusing on the situation around him and remembers that God is good. He is allowing His people to go through pain as a form of loving discipline – to get them back on track. He is not abandoning them forever; He will bring them back to Jerusalem and restore them as a nation.
We all face trials. They come in all sorts of areas: health, relationships, employment and depression, just to name a few. Not every hardship is discipline; most trials aren’t sent our way as a punishment for sin, at least not in the way God was dealing with Israel back then. But like the Israelites, God can use our times of struggle to help build us up. We grow through adversity and are better prepared for the next time we face a tough circumstance.
Things happen to and around us, often completely out of our control, and we have to live with the consequences of them. Life can be difficult, but we have a God who loves us and will always be with us. Our situations are, more often than not, temporary. We can choose how we let the situation affect us – and our response to it.
We can even share our experience to help others around us in their times of struggle. How many times have we been encouraged by the “survival story” of someone who came through a similar storm that we were going through?
Jeremiah reminds us that God’s love for us never fails. We are never outside of his care. Every morning we wake up and have a new day that He has created, and we can choose to focus on the negative, or we can praise God for all the blessings we have. God is our strength and through Him we can conquer anything that comes our way.