Pondering Lamentations 3 today. I set it as part of my “Bible-Reading Plan for Shut-Ins” because I knew it would likely fit the mood of this strange and stressful season. I was right.
Today was the first day I’ve really started to feel truly on edge, even a little stir-crazy, about the lack of normal routine and from being stuck at home.
But at least I have a home.
At least I’m not like the author of Lamentations — living through the utter destruction of his home, his country, his former way of life. Turned into a refugee after the devastating invasion of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army. Someone’s always got it worse than us, right?
And yet the author of Lamentations still manages to say this:
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
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.
And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:
Let them sit alone in silence
beneath the Lord’s demands.
Let them lie face down in the dust,
for there may be hope at last.
Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them
and accept the insults of their enemies.
For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow.
That was Lamentations 3:20-33 (NLT). Then, jumping down to verse 40:
. . . let us test and examine our ways.
Let us turn back to the Lord.
If you’re like me, maybe you’re going a little stir-crazy too. Maybe you’ve been more than a little stir-crazy for a while. Maybe, like me, you find yourself getting angry faster, snapping at the kids sooner, struggling to get tasks done or to focus on spending time with the Lord. Maybe you, too, are sitting at your desk at almost 9 PM trying to hammer out something to meet your daily commitment!
We have good news: God understands.
His mercies are new each morning.
The heart of the gospel is that God loves us before we do anything. And if your faith is in Christ, then he is your inheritance — you have nothing to lose! Not only is his mercy always available, Psalm 23:6 says it actually chases us down! Just like my little toddler always manages to come find me every time I think I’ve slipped away to get some personal time. Each time he finds me, he runs up to me with a big ol’ grin, yells “Dada!!” as if he’s discovered gold, and interrupts my silly grown-up seriousness with a moment of pure joy and love.
That’s how God works. Sometimes I’m just too busy trying to do stuff for him to recognize it and bask in it.
So here’s an invitation to take some time to sit still and turn to the God who is rich in patience, mercy, and understanding for our weaknesses. Use the time of waiting and being stuck to examine your walk with him.
OR . . . just rest in the knowledge that even if you don’t have time to sit still, and you just have to get all the things done and take care of your family, or whatever it is . . . his mercies are still fresh and he loves you anyway.
See you down the path.