18 I thought: My future is gone, as well as my hope from the Lord.
19 The memory of my suffering and homelessness is bitterness and poison.
20 I can’t help but remember and am depressed.
21 I call all this to mind—therefore, I will wait.
22 Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through!
23 They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.
24 I think: The Lord is my portion! Therefore, I’ll wait for him.
25 The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to the person who seeks him.
The book of Lamentations arose out of Jerusalem’s destruction by the Babylonians over 2500 years ago. Its continuing relevance is found in the conflict between hope and despair that rages in the hearts and minds of every generation.
The writer isn’t shy about recounting all the reasons why hope is hard to find. Food and water are scarce, violence is all around, worship and prayer have come to a halt with the Temple lying in ruins.
In the face of all this, verse 22 seems to come out of nowhere: “Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended!” Despite all evidence, the writer continues to trust, continues to hope, continues to believe in God’s goodness – that God’s mercy is new every morning.
This may sound like a merely Pollyanna way of thinking – but hope is so much deeper and more important than that. It’s important to acknowledge times when things are hard. But when despair robs us of our will to live, hope can literally be life-giving – allowing us to keep moving forward.
This is no small thing. It’s easy to give up, to walk away, to lose faith when difficulty overwhelms us. But God’s goodness is not determined by our circumstances. Our understanding and hope in God’s goodness is rooted in God’s interactions with humanity in the scope of human history – our creation, our salvation, and the ongoing story of God’s work in our world.
Today, don’t let your circumstances dictate your understanding of God. No matter what, the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended!
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
What are some signs of hope God has placed in your path today?
How can you be a sign of hope for someone else today?