Life is tough sometimes, even for those who love the Lord. It is impossible to go through this life without dealing with some very hard things. The difference for those who love the Lord is that we ALWAYS have someone to run to.
Lamentations paints a very real picture of just what it feels like when we are dealing with disappointment and maybe even despair. Jeremiah is thought to have written this poetic book after the destruction of Jerusalem – obviously a time of great heartache for the people of the city and all of Isreal.
In Lamentations we are reminded that the Bible is real – it does not sugar coat how pain makes us feel, how hurt and angry and without hope we might be. Jeremiah captures that so eloquently in Lamentations 3 in some of these verses:
1 I am the [woman] who has seen affliction by the rod of the Lord’s wrath. 2 He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; 3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. 7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. 8 Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. 9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked.13 He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver. 14 I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long. 18 So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord.” 19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the [upset]. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
So, great! God gave us a book of sad poetry to read when we were going through trouble?!? Yay, God?!?
Yep, that is what God did, because we were created in His likeness and He understands what that pain feels like. (No, He really does, because He sent His ONLY son to be killed by us – for us!)
God understands that we, as humans, must experience life’s pain. It’s not an invalid emotion. Losing a relationship or a friend or a job or a city to destruction is painful, no matter who you are or how close to God you are.
The important thing, though, is that God does not leave us there alone. He gives us His helper and His word. Only an evil person would let us stew in pain forever without providing us a spiritual helper to remind us of the truth.
Just before Jesus was taken and crucified he gave his disciples, who He knew were about to experience the most soul crushing event, a promise. He gave us a promise.
26 “But when the Father sends [the Holy Spirit] as my representative, he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. 27 I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”– John 14:26-27
God gave us the Holy Spirit for many reasons, but especially to be there when we are heartbroken. And because that same Holy Spirit has been working for a long time, through many prophets before us, Jeremiah was reminded of God’s promise as well and he wrote some of the most comforting words in Lamentations 3.
21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”– Lamentation 3:21-24
So, yes, we will experience sadness and pain and despair, but God does not leave us there. He lovingly gave us a helper, who gently picks His children up and holds them when they are hurting.
He whispers how beautiful and special and amazing we are and reminds us that tomorrow will be a new day and and that He has amazing gifts in store for us and that one day we will be together with Him forever.