“Remember my affliction and roaming, the wormwood and the gall. My soul still remembers and sinks within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’” (Lamentations 3:19-24).
Do you ever struggle with feeling God does not care about you or understand the heartaches you face? Being a follower of God doesn’t mean we never battle with such powerful, negative feelings. God doesn’t despise us when such thoughts come to our minds. Some of the greatest servants of God, like the prophet Jeremiah, combated with such feelings.
Notice the negative thoughts that came to Jeremiah’s mind as he observed first-hand the destruction of his beloved Jerusalem. Beholding the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah states, “All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. Fear and a snare have come upon us, desolation and destruction. My eyes overflow with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people” (Lamentations 3:46-48). Furthermore, Jeremiah struggles with understanding why God hasn’t intervened to help them: “You have covered Yourself with anger and pursued us; You have slain and not pitied. You have covered Yourself with a cloud, that prayer should not pass through. You have made us an offscouring and refuse in the midst of the peoples” (Lamentations 3:43-45).
In addition, as he further descends into despair, Jeremiah accuses God of not treating him fairly: “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. He has led me and made me walk in darkness and not in light. Surely He has turned His hand against me time and time again throughout the day. He has aged my flesh and my skin, and broken my bones. He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and woe. He has set me in dark places like the dead of long ago. He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer” (Lamentations 3:1-8). By these words, we can clearly see Jeremiah is at a low point in his walk with God.
However, Jeremiah’s words to God do not end here. As the opening verses above indicate, after pouring out his soul to God, Jeremiah makes some wonderful statements indicating that, although he was greatly struggling with his faith in God, he was still maintaining faith in God. He remembers that because of God’s mercy and compassion Israel was not completely consumed. There was still a remnant that remained. He proclaims to God, “Great is Your faithfulness”. God would continue to be his portion and Jeremiah would continue to hope in Him (Lamentations 3:22-24).
I look forward to seeing Jeremiah in heaven. He is such an inspiration to me. He faithfully served God during some very dark days in Israel’s history. Although dealing with the heartache of seeing the destruction of God’s people because of their sins, coping with being imprisoned for proclaiming God’s message, and battling with his own negative feelings of depression, Jeremiah rises from the ashes and proclaims to God, “Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:23). Today, I will rejoice at the great faithfulness of God to me when I struggle with my own sins, fears, and doubts. Like Jeremiah, I will remember God is my portion and I will hope in Him!
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23)