Dare to Hope

Lamentations 3:19-26: The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”  The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

Lamentations is a difficult book to read, mainly because you can so acutely feel the sorrow and heartache of the author, believed to be the prophet, Jeremiah. He had prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem for many years, but his people would not listen. They continued to sin against God and be disobedient to His commands. Eventually, God allowed the Babylonians to defeat His people, and the sheer magnitude of the destruction was so hard for Jeremiah to bear. Even though he understood that the desolate state of Jerusalem, with the Temple and the city walls destroyed and burned, was a self-inflicted wound, he still mourned for the once beautiful and vibrant city.

Yet, in the midst of his suffering and great loss, Jeremiah dares to hope. Hope, to me, is the feeling that eventually everything will work out for the best, even though there is no reason to anticipate that it will. Hope means that there is a belief that change will come, although all around us is devastation. That devastation may be the loss of a job, the unraveling of a once-vibrant marriage, an addiction that seems too strong to beat, or a physical, mental, or emotional sickness that seems incurable.  That Jeremiah can write of God’s great faithfulness and mercy as he experiences unimaginable sorrow is a testimony to his trust in God’s love for him and his people.

It is in the times of immense suffering that it is difficult to keep hope alive. Yet, we must always remember that God’s mercies are new every morning. No matter what you are enduring today, do not stop searching for God, continue to read His Word, and call out to Him in prayer. Like Jeremiah, wait for the salvation of the Lord. Jeremiah 29:12-14 states, “In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” I know that Jeremiah’s hope was not in vain, and that God did bring His people back home after the prophesied time of exile.

Today, whatever you are suffering that seems so huge and overwhelming, remember that there is really nothing too hard for God to change. Like Jeremiah, speak hope into the situation, and give God glory for His goodness and faithfulness. Then, sit quietly and wait for His salvation in whatever form it may come, and then testify to His wonders and unfailing love.

Dear Father in Heaven,

      This is the day that you have made, and I will rejoice in it. Like Jeremiah, I have suffered and wondered if change was possible, and you heard my cry and made things right in my life. I looked for you, and sometimes I thought you were not present and did not  know of my troubles. But, I was wrong. You not only heard, but you came to my rescue. It is true, your tender mercies are new each morning, and I am glad that I can testify that even when it seems like you are silent, you are working in the background. I stand in awe of all you have done for me! Thank you so very much, O Lord my God. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

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