Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Yesterday, I finished reading the book of Lamentations and thought chapter three was a fitting way to begin the Lenten journey.
The name Lamentations gives you an idea of the nature of the book. Lamentations is a funeral song. It’s written about, and in the midst of, misery.
In chapter 3, the prophet Jeremiah attributes the misery to God. For example, Jeremiah says …
10 He is a bear lurking for me,
a lion in hiding.
11 He took me from my path
and tore me apart;
he made me desolate.
12 He drew back his bow, made me
a shooting target for arrows.
13 He shot the arrows of his quiver
into my inside parts.
14 I have become a joke to all my people, the
object of their song of ridicule
all day long.
15 He saturated me with grief,
made me choke on bitterness.
16 He crushed my teeth into the gravel;
he pressed me down into the ashes.
17 I’ve rejected peace;
I’ve forgotten what is good.
18 I thought: My future is gone,
as well as my hope from the LORD.
Later, the funeral song continues to lament the misery. However, right here, near of the middle of the chapter and middle of the book, Jeremiah remembers something very important …
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
23 They are renewed every morning.
Great is your faithfulness.
24 I think: The LORD is my portion! Therefore, I’ll wait for him.
In difficult times, it’s critical to remember and reflect on God’s faithfulness. Even in the midst of all that the prophet Jeremiah was feeling and expressing, he remembered God’s compassion and faithfulness, and that they are renewed every morning.
The next few lines offer good advice at the beginning of Lent …
25 The LORD is good to those who hope in him, to the person who seeks him.
26 It’s good to wait in silence
for the LORD’s deliverance.
27 It’s good for a man to carry a yoke
in his youth.
28 He should sit alone and be silent
when God lays it on him.
29 He should put his mouth in the dirt—perhaps there is hope.
Wait in silence. Sit alone and be silent. Look beyond your circumstances. And remember God is faithful.
(This post is part of the Common English Bible Tour.)