I remember my affliction and
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
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.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
- Lamentations 3:19-27
“Have you ever driven around a corner so fast you thought two wheels had left the ground? It is likely didn’t actually catch air. Sometimes two ideas appear to be so far apart and unlikely to be encountered together that there is nothing but air between them. In the Bible, the book of Lamentations is a good example of how one might be suffering and yet filled with hope at the same time.
“In Ancient Jerusalem, 586 B.C., God’s people had been greatly blessed yet they stopped seeking Him in their hearts and served only themselves with pleasures. While drunk with indulgence they fell asleep allowing enemies to overtake them, burning their buildings and decimating the land. Storehouses and supplies were ravaged beyond repair and God’s people were left in ruin to starve. Sorrow and tears flowed without comfort.
“Suddenly, in the middle of Israel’s lament, the book takes a fast corner. Waking up in a deep pit, Israel acknowledged their sin and repented of forsaking their God, the One who created and established them. In remembering God’s great love, they also rediscovered His awesome power and once again found hope to wait on His provision and deliverance.
“Today, don’t get mired down focusing on all that is desperation and wrong in your life or on the world stage. Remember the God of Mercy runs to the aid of all people and nations that call upon His name.”
- Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
Nations can seek God, and they should. But we should individually seek God and His will for our lives.
I have heard that the opposite of faith is not doubt or disbelief. The opposite of faith is certainty. If you were to pray for enough money to feed two people at a fast food place and you had a $20 bill in your pocket, that requires no faith at all. You are certain in your means to pay for the meal. Now, if you are sitting on the roof of your house in the middle of a major flood, and you prayed for the ability to feed yourself and the person with you, now we are talking about faith for rescue so you can get to dry land and a place to use that money.
Thinking of flooding, we have had our share this year in the USA. Thinking of violence, we’ve had our share throughout the world this year. Thinking of scorching hot temperatures and the lack of means to cool down, many in the northern US and in Europe have had their problems with that this summer. We have our issues around the world with hunger, poverty, and homelessness.
There is plenty of despair. I have probably forgotten a truckload of reasons for despair not mentioned above.
But Jeremiah, in the middle of a poem, flips from laments as to how bad off the people are to how wonderful God is. Amidst despair, Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, finds hope.
For those, like me, who cannot handle the hot weather, cooler weather is coming. (And no, I will not complain at the first snow. I may not go outside, but I will not complain.) For those who have lost a great deal through natural disasters or disasters made by man, like most wildfires, there will be a day when you will be able to thrive again.
There can be hope, but it is not a certainty that hope can be found. Oddly, that’s where faith comes in. As some argue, the opposite of faith is certainty, but to be certain of Hope, you must have faith.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.