“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 Lords’ 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.” Lam. 3:19-26
Most will recognize these verses, for they are quite popular verses which remind us of the Lord’s great faithfulness. Yet, they speak volumes when you begin to grasp who wrote them, when they were written and what is taken place. To better understand, we must know that it was Jeremiah who wrote this book, also known as a lament. A lament is defined as a passionate expression of sorrow or grief. At the time of this writing, Jeremiah has been imprisoned and Jerusalem has fallen and been taken by Babylon. The temple, the royal palace and all the houses and important buildings in Jerusalem have been burned (2 Kings 25:8-11). Everyone but some of the poorest of peoples have been taken into exile. The walls of this great city have been broken and destruction is at hand. Jeremiah is heartbroken over this destruction and over His beloved city. No longer is the city thriving and full of people, it is now desolate. Those left in Jerusalem groan in search of food and suffer due to the affliction. Jeremiah too is in distress and his eyes overflow with tears (Lam. 1:16, 20 ).
So when He writes that he remembers his affliction, he is not joking. He knows and understands pain. His heart is broken and his soul is downcast. It would have been entirely easy for Jeremiah to focus his eyes on his situation and to become angry that the Lord has allowed such turmoil in his life, since he is the Lord’s servant. It would have been easy for him to become depressed as he looked upon his situation.
When we are going through the valleys and trials this too is our temptation. For as we look around and see our impossible situations, our huge problems, it is easy to quickly become overwhelmed and depressed. To want to quit and to give up.
YET, Jeremiah says, “this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.”
Jeremiah could have focused on the bad, but instead he chose to focus on the Lord and His faithfulness. He wasn’t consumed with his problems because He knew the Lord’s would prove Himself faithful and would one day bring about deliverance. Therefore He has hope. Hope to go on, hope to wait, hope to trust because He knows the greatness of the Lord.
It is key to remember that Jeremiah’s situation has not changed in the least, he is still imprisoned and the city is still in ruins. Yet, his perspective has changed as He looks to the Lord.
When going through trials, times of waiting and valleys, we too must keep a right perspective, focusing our eyes upon the Lord and His faithfulness rather than our trials. Knowing He is bigger and greater than all of our problems and that as we wait on Him, trust Him and praise Him in the valleys, we can have hope. Hope because we know He will prove Himself faithful to us.
Let us then keep our eyes lifted heavenward and focused on Jesus who is our hope!