Jeremiah was probably not invited to many parties, but his demeanor had more to do with reality than a serotonin imbalance…much more. God’s people had been repeatedly warned about their idolatrous and otherwise unfaithful choices. Even as segments of their society were intermittently carried off—warning shots across the bow, if you will—they still hardened their hearts to stubbornly go against what God wanted them to do, and this after God had so clearly and repeated explained what He expected of them.
Then the hammer fell. It always does. After the devastating and cruel siege causing travesties within the walls of Jerusalem, (that I choose not to recount here—UGH), and after the burning and total destruction of God’s symbol of His presence among His people, (the exquisitely beautiful Solomon’s temple), the predicted exile begins. Jeremiah’s words all but melt off the page with his tears as the bereft prophet poignantly grieves over the mess; in fact, the first part of Lamentations (an apt title), chapter three, is not something to be read on a gray day when you’re already feeling a bit down in the dumps.
UNLESS you continue reading into this part of the missive, which is nestled snuggly smack-dab in the middle of the prophet’s woe:
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!’
The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.”
Wait, when did we turn this corner? I thought we were having a well-deserved pity party. And Jeremiah knew how to lament; he had had lots of practice and mountains of justification for it. So I am seriously awed by this break in the action, after which he continues within the same vein for a few more verses.
And then we’re thrown yet another bend in the road…
“But I called on your name, Lord,
from deep within the pit.”
Now wait. Are we going to get some sympathy, or not? Which way is he going with this?
As usual, God’s prophet is going God’s way. And God’s way always ends up in the right place, at the right time. That doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps and potholes along that way, (just ask Jeremiah). But the end result will be good, and whether we acknowledge it or not, there tends to be plenty of good in the in-between times as well. Like Jeremiah, I’m pretty adept at lamenting the woeful parts of life, but also like him, I want to be able to praise God in the midst of the waiting process.
Because you never know what’s just around the next corner.
Lamentation 3:22-26,55 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.