I remember my affliction and my wandering, 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.
I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” Lamentations 3:19-26,55-57
I looked up these scripture passages while preparing the blog published last week called “Immense, Intense and Durable,” which describes both grief and God’s love and work in our lives. Doesn’t the passage above have a familiar feeling about it? Couldn’t you be saying all that as if they are your own words? You “remember” your affliction and how bitter it is when your child has died. Your soul is probably “downcast.”
Have you done the next thing? Jeremiah says he deliberately did the mental work to remember, “call to mind,” the Lord’s everyday doses of compassion. Jeremiah therefore declares that he will wait and see. Wait for God to show Himself faithful to His word and promises. Wait till the Lord begins the healing process that hope brings.
Jeremiah will wait “quietly!” As I think about me when I’m waiting for the Lord to help me in something, I’m not sure “quietly” describes me. Since Jeremiah did it, let’s you and me commit to each other to wait in a quiet attitude of heart. What’s that? I think it means being patient and expectant, not complaining, and accepting of the blessings God brings our way. Those blessings may come in shapes different than we pictured, wanted, or asked for but we will seek to recognize them and be thankful.
Then see the bottom line? You (that is God the Almighty Father) heard and came near! And said “do not fear.” If God is near, no fear. As I’m thinking this through, I’m feeling joyful and peaceful (not anxious) just because God is near, comforting me. It is a good feeling.
Here is another way to say much the same thing:
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Psalm 62: 1-2,11-12a