Friday, July 18, 2008

Hope in the Midst of Circumstances

Hope in the Midst of Circumstances: a Look at Lamentations 3:21-25

Lamentations 3:21-25
This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
22 The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.
24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.
When one is beat down by the circumstances of life, (and Jeremiah was - just read the two verses prior to my quoted passage), they are in dire need of hope. Is hope an emotion? Is hope some dream-like platitude we hand out to our brothers & sisters in Christ? Can hope be a reality in the most troubling times of life? Let's examine this passage.
Where is the focus of Jeremiah when he declares that he has found hope? I think he has focused on 6 things:
  • YHWH's lovingkindness - can you appreciate the varying facets of our English translations? ESV - steadfast love; KJV - mercies; NET - loyal kindness; NLT - faithful love; NIV - great love. What a beautiful picture begins to form in our minds as we focus on this enduring love our God has for us!
  • This lovingkindness never ceases...or similarly, because of them we are not consumed!
  • Jeremiah also focuses on YHWH's compassions or mercies. Similar to the lovingkindnesses of God, but in addition to them as well.
  • These compassions never fail: ESV - never come to an end! Oh, the unlimited compassion of God!
  • The lovingkindnesses and compassions of YHWH are new every morning!
  • and His faithfulness (to us) is great, or abundant!

On what do you focus during the troubling times of life? Jeremiah makes a concious effort, he exercises his will, to focus on God. Because of this focus, he begins to realize hope.

What then becomes his 'new' reality. In other words, what does Jeremiah realize as a result of this intense willful focus on his God and His goodness towards him?

  • v.24 - Jehovah is my portion - my possession, the territory on which I reside. He is mine, I am His - what can man, or nature or evil do to me to place me outside His love? Nothing!

As we focus on the goodness of God to us, in the midst of these difficult days, and as we realize our reality in Him, let us not forget our duty:

  • v. 25 - we are to wait for Him. there is an implication of tenseness and eagerness in this waiting. We are to look for Him with eager expectation of His moving in our lives. To wait for God with steadfast endurance is a great expression of our faith in Him. We endure, patiently, in confident hope that God will decisively act on our behalf. This is waiting.
  • v.25 - we are to seek Him. This is not a haphazard, check the box devotional time. It is to seek with care, to inquire of Him. To be intent on finding God and search Him out. There is passion implied here. It is worship.

What then is your focus in your difficult days? Have you forgotten God? Have you misplaced the reminders of His love and kindness towards you? Do you understand and have you realized your reality in Him? Are you fulfilling your duty? As you begin to focus on God, you will soon be able to say with the prophet Jeremiah:

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have HOPE.

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