Lessons from Lamentations: even in the midst of suffering, we have hope!

Lamentations 3 21

Each chapter of Lamentations stresses and develops a particular aspect of sorrow. But interwoven in the threads of sorrow are the beautiful rays of hope.

Ray C. Stedman writes this about chapter 1 of Lamentations: “Chapter one gives us a description of the utter depths of sorrow, the desolation of spirit that sorrow makes upon the human heart, the sense of abandonment, of complete loneliness. Here you can see how vividly the prophet has captured this feeling as he pours out the feelings of his own heart. The people have been vanquished and taken into captivity; the city has been set on fire and totally destroyed. Verse 16:

“For these things I weep;
my eyes flow with tears;
for a comforter is far from me,
one to revive my courage;
my children are desolate,
for the enemy has prevailed.” (Lamentations 1:16 RSV)

Debbie Stuart writes: “Lamentations is about an unnecessary tragedy. An unwillingness to follow God, attempts to “do life” the way you want and a stubborn heart will lead to costly and tragic circumstances. Have you created your own affliction? (Like Jonah created his own storm by going the opposite direction)”

We are all going to encounter storms, trials, and tribulations. It is simply going to happen, as John writes in chapter 16, verse 33. Some of these troubles may be of our own making and others will happen to us independent of our actions, but our reactions to them is always the same: keep going and have hope.

But as a Christian we know that we serve a God who has a plan for us, who makes all things work together for our good (all things, even this!), and when we are weak and cry out “why me, why now, why this?” He answers with a whisper “I am with you, do not be afraid” (Psalm 118:6). We are loved, saved, and because of Him we have hope. Hope for a brighter tomorrow, hope that God will restore our fallen tents, and hope that we will dance with the joyful again.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

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