But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases… Lamentations iii, 21-22.
Hope sustains us. We hope for a better tomorrow even though we may be neck deep in misery. Hope that’s based on wishful thinking will disappoint us. On the other hand, if our hope is based on the unchanging nature of our LORD God, even the darkest of our nights will not immobilize us.
The prophet Jeremiah recalled the steadfast love of the LORD in the mist of a national tragedy that ravished his nation. The tragedy was anything but ‘natural.’ He knew that Judah’s defeat and the resultant exile came as fulfillment of his prophecies. The LORD did what He purposed (2:17). Like an enemy, the LORD swallowed up Israel and sent Judah into captivity. The Lord trampled Judah and crushed her young men. Jeremiah mourned for the dead whose bodies were strewn around the city. He cried when he saw destitute and starving infants faint on the streets. Desperate women resorted to eating children of their tender care.
Even though he prophesied about a coming destruction, Jeremiah was overwhelmed by its terrifying magnitude. He was so overcome with grief that he wrote down his lamentations to facilitate a resolution. Having seen the LORD‘s fierce anger (2:5)that was displayed without pity (2:17) Jeremiah felt that God had driven him into darkness without any light (3:2). That’s an existence without any hope! His list of complaints about God grew longer by the day: surely against me He turns his hand (v. 3); He has besieged me … with bitterness and tribulation (v. 5); He shuts out my prayer (v. 8); He is a bear lying in wait for me (v. 10); He drove into my kidneys the arrows of his quiver (v. 13); He has filled me with bitterness (v. 15); …so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD” (v. 18).
In such a hopeless situation, Jeremiah resolutely reminded himself of Yahweh’s steadfast love. Light dawned in Jeremiah’s darkness when he remembered that God’s mercies are renewed every morning. God’s love is never exhausted. Therefore, God is never devoid of mercy even when He executes punishment. Jeremiah’s complaints gave way to praise and worship. God’s unchanging character elicited praise from Jeremiah’s lips: “Great is thy faithfulness” (v. 23).
If you feel that God has punished you and that God is angry with you, take courage! Tap into God’s mercies and wait quietly for His salvation (v. 26). Humble yourself. Put your mouth in the dust and endure the yoke that God has placed on you. Let those who insult you continue their mission. Show your cheek to the one who strikes you (v. 27-30). For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love (v. 31-32).