How quickly things can change!
Experts are predicting overwhelming numbers of sick people. The economy is reeling like it got hit by a proverbial bus. The coronavirus has us wondering what will happen next. The uncertainty can be unsettling, sparking anxiety and fear.
Jeremiah faced dark and depressing circumstances in his day. His people were defeated by their enemies, most of them either killed or carried away into exile. The city of Jerusalem was destroyed. Its temple, the place for worshiping God, was torn down and unusable.
While pondering this terrible news, Jeremiah wrote some sorrowful words. In the Old Testament book of Lamentations, we read Jeremiah’s solemn reflections on his dreadful situation. His opening words: “How deserted lies the city!” they remind us of some of the deserted cities we see now on the news.
The weeping prophet, as Jeremiah was called, did not sugar-coat the situation. Things were very bad for him and those who had survived destruction and exile. He was honest in his assessment of the damage. Things looked hopeless.
But Jeremiah was able to find a sense of hope and confidence in all the darkness and depression. In the middle of his gloomy laments, he writes:
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:21-23, ESV)
Jeremiah knew God’s promise to bring his people back to the Promised Land, to rebuild and carry on. He believed that God’s promise would be fulfilled. What God starts, he finishes.
Our current problems are not nearly as dire as Jeremiah’s were when he wrote the book of Lamentations. Nevertheless, our struggles can feel overly burdensome at times.
Like Jeremiah, we can call to mind and have hope. In fact, we have much more to call to mind than Jeremiah did.
We can call to mind Jesus sacrificing himself on the cross for our forgiveness. We can call to mind the power of God raising Jesus from the dead. We know that Jesus ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of the throne of God in majesty, interceding for us. We understand that Jesus is preparing a place for us so that we can be with him forever. Jesus is coming back for all those who belong to him.
Jesus is our assurance that God’s love never ceases, that his mercies never come to an end. Every morning we can be sure that our God is faithful, and his faithfulness is truly great!
So, our problems are smaller than Jeremiah’s and our revelation is greater. Let’s call to mind the goodness of our God and have hope!
May God’s Spirit lift you up!
Brother Richard Foster