Barely a day goes by without us hearing some news of events that are causing anxiety. We reflect on this as we read Lamentations. It was written after the tragedy of Jerusalem’s fall and the destruction of the Temple. But chapter 3 is remarkable! It contains great lessons of the perceptions that can come into our minds if we truly seek God as Jeremiah did. First, he says, God “has enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation” (verse 5). Maybe we can use that word ‘envelope’ in a modern sense and say, can we put this bitterness into an envelope and put it out with the rubbish or into the fire! But how? Jeremiah also says, “my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is” (verse 17).
But then, wonderfully, from verse 21, his mind climbs out of his. 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. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him’” (verses 25,26).
If you are a young person, note verse 27, “It is good for a man (or woman) that they bear the yoke in their youth”. That is, be in harness in the service of the Lord and learn that God watches over your life and will direct the path of those who truly seek Him. David says, “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way” (Psalm 142:3).
Finally, note verses 40,41. “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God …” May we follow Jeremiah’s example, for few have experienced traumas like he did. But after being “bereft of peace” he still knew that “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases”.