i was in the watch of the Lord prayer room this week, with no kids may i add because my wonderful husband kept them home so i could go spend time with the Lord by myself, and i had an urging to read the book of lamentations. just the title of the book sounds depressing, right? to lament is to grieve. maybe that is why i have subconsciously avoided reading this book the past several years.
the book of lamentations was mostly likely written by the prophet jeremiah during the fall of jerusalem in 586bc. some of what was happening that was recorded is seemingly unbelievable, yet very true of the current state of the people in jerusalem. it is amazing that in a book like this that accounts such a sad time in israel's history that i would find such encouragement. this seems to be the way of the bible, and the way of the Lord. in the darkest times the light shines the brightest. in the midst of the opportunity for despair, there is the same opportunity for overwhelming hope.
i was pleased to find that this following passage from lamentations was the inspiration for thomas chisholm when he wrote the words of the well known hymn great is thy faithfulness. in the midst of great darkness and trials, the character of God shines forth brightly bringing hope and comfort.
though i usually quote the bible in the nasb version, i felt so connected to this passage when i read it in the niv, so here it will be such:
i remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
i well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
yet this i call to mind and therefore i have hope:
because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
i say to myself, "the Lord is my portion; therefore i will wait for Him."
the Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
it is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.
let him bury his face in the dust-- there may yet be hope.
let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.
for men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.
for He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.
what a God we serve! His steadfast character remains regardless of the circumstances around us. so great is His faithfulness. it is in Him we have hope.