January 2nd, 2021 – Saturday Early Evening
“This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD.” ~Lamentations 3:21-26
What are you waiting for? Not, why aren’t you doing anything, but, what is it that you are expecting?
Jeremiah, the assumed author of the short and distressing book of Lamentations, knew firsthand the awful and disgusting consequences of forsaking the LORD. He, though righteous and a prophet, had seen the utter disregard that his people had for the LORD and His Word. Jeremiah was called to speak truth to a wicked and perverse generation that refused to listen; not only was he ignored and mocked, but he was persecuted and his life was threatened for being true to the Truth. Lamentations is a lament of terrible judgment and lonely desolation as a result of the circumstances surrounding Jeremiah, yet we also find a level of faith and hope that can scarcely be matched elsewhere in Scripture!
What caused such faith and hope? The passage above helps us to gain insight…read it again. Jeremiah reminded himself of the LORD’s infinite mercy, His lovingkindness, His great faithfulness, and His goodness, AND he set his heart on Him. This is why he uses the word “hope” here; it is a word of expectation, a word describing the hope of waiting. Jeremiah knew the character of God and because he was intent on seeking Him and waiting for Him, he was confident of the LORD’s faithfulness and mercy in the midst of such devastation. Jeremiah didn’t find the fortitude in himself to stand against the onslaught of his culture and he didn’t endure the hardships of the LORD’s judgments on his people through any strength of his own; no, the only way Jeremiah survived and responded with faith and hope was through his desperate and complete dependence on the Lord.
I’m quite sure that very few or none of us who read this has ever been in the kind of horrific, massive, and extended terror that Jeremiah endured. Yet, all of us do experience trouble, emotions, and distressing situations; all of us face the temptations, trials, and tragedies of life and all of us can be sidelined by the distractions of busy and painful lives. What’s the key to survival and a life of faith and hope? The same as it was for Jeremiah: We need to live in constant and deep reliance on the LORD, reminding ourselves of His character and setting our hearts on Him.
So, what are you waiting for? Whom are you seeking? This new year is a new opportunity to know the mercy and faithfulness of God, but unless we allow Him to focus our hearts and minds on Him, we will miss that opportunity. Seek the LORD while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near (Isaiah 55:6); forsake the ways of the flesh, walk by the Spirit, and abide in Christ. Will you join me in doing this in 2021? I can assure you that there is nothing that is more necessary or important for us.