Lamentations 3:25-26 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.
I was struck with how many times the word hope came up in today’s reading. If there was ever a hopeless situation, Jeremiah was in it! Most people have trouble even imagining the devastation of Judah and Jerusalem at that point. I’m reminded of the pictures of Northeastern Japan after the tsunami in 2011. The book of Lamentations was written as Jeremiah’s response to his situation, and some of it is bitter indeed. However, in the middle of it is this magnificent, even amazing, expression of faith and hope. This is essentially the middle of the book, since it has five chapters, and by the end of it he is quite depressed again, so we must not think that Jeremiah was an unshakable tower of faith; he was as human as we are. That should actually be very encouraging to us, because God revealed His truth to this very human man, and the whole world has been blessed as a result. This specific passage deals with our human tendency to get frantic. We aren’t to be fatalistic, but we need to remember that when things are totally out of our control, they still aren’t out of God’s control. Waiting quietly for the Lord’s salvation can be the hardest thing at times, but you could call it an essential survival technique. Thinking “I’ve got to fix everything” will destroy us.
I have an odd personal connection with Lamentations. My family was in the US when I was in the 5th grade, and my Sunday School teacher was a friend of my older brother. We had a lesson on Lamentations, and the teacher asked if anyone knew what the word meant. I blew him out of the water by replying, “To lament is to be very, very sad.” That was a better answer than he could have given, and for a while he called me “Lammy-pie!” However, understanding vocabulary isn’t nearly as important as understanding God’s truth, and that has come more slowly. Men in general tend to have a “Mister Fix-it” mentality (which can lead to a lot of marital conflict), and I’m no exception. I certainly get satisfaction in fixing all sorts of things, both physical and otherwise, but that’s not always the best approach. I too have to work on waiting quietly for God’s answers! That’s not to say that I’m to be passive; waiting can be very active! However, it is to say that I’m never to think that it’s got to be my strength, my wisdom that brings the solution to whatever the issue is. God is more than able to handle it, and He will. He might even use me in the process!
Father, thank You for this reminder. I do ask for Your perfect will to be done, not just for this morning but for the barbecue on the 22nd as well. Help me not run from my responsibilities in that, but rather recognize Your solutions to whatever degree they involve me or not. May Your will be done, for the salvation of this neighborhood, this city, this nation, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!