There are many changes in life. Some are expected while others are not. The speed of change can be overwhelming in its rapidity. Finding reliable anchors in a sea of change can
prove difficult. Yet in the words of today’s reading, we are reminded of the faithfulness of God. Each day we are shown compassion, mercy and love. With the dawn of the day, this is renewed once again. Because of this we have hope, no matter what may be swirling around us.
The passage today was written during a time when the Israelites were dispersed in foreign countries and living in exile. It is part of the crying out to God, sharing their feelings of woe. The future seemed bleak at best. Yet even while in exile, visions of God’s compassion and love could be found.
As I read this passage, a hymn from my past came to mind.
Whatever you may be experiencing at this time, never lose sight of God’s faithful compassion, mercy, and love.
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)
There had been a lot of suffering in our nation, and the world, over the last year. The pandemic has been a significant cause of suffering and death. The social unrest related to racial differences have brought to the surface long-existing suffering. The very contentious political environment has led to growing division and suffering within communities and families. The afflictions when one is experiencing them can be so strong that it feels like they are drowning one’s spirit.
Lamentations is a crying out to God. The words are considered to be from the time when Israel was in exile. The Israelites had experienced many hardships including separation from family, destruction of their homes, and being brought to a foreign land to live as servants. They easily felt overwhelmed by their afflictions. Yet there is hope in the words we read today. The writer acknowledges the feeling of being consumed by afflictions except for the fact of the Lord’s love preventing a total consumption. The compassion and faithfulness of the Lord is seen as unfailing and renewed daily. Waiting for the Lord to remove the afflictions speaks to a confidence that the Lord will and a belief that the Lord provides what is required to endure until then.
In the midst of our afflictions recently, we may feel like crying out to the Lord as we see in Lamentations. In fact, we hopefully have done just that. However, it is important to keep in mind that because we are loved by God, our troubles will not totally overcome us. The compassion and faithfulness of the Lord is never ending. We are to wait and be confident that the Lord will walk us through whatever we are experiencing.