Monday, January 15, 2007

The basis of hope: great is thy faithfulness

I wonder have you ever read the book Lamentations? If not, then the title might sound a bit off-putting. Lamentations - like, as in people lamenting? It doesn't sound too attractive to read. And, to be honest, it can be a bit depressing - as I mentioned in a previous posting, it details the sufferings of the city of Jerusalem and its people after the Babylonian conquest. Chapter four is particularly fierce, with mothers unable to feed their children, or worse, boiling their children to eat and survive.

And yet, scattered throughout the book are some great gems. Wonderful beacons of light in the midst of the tremendous suffering. The prime one is probably well known, but I wanted to blog about it, or at least, to copy it here. Remember the conditions, and the situation it arises from, because it shows up the glory of the hope so much more:

'Remember my afflictions and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." ' (Lamentations 3:19-24).

In the midst of these horrific situations, with the terrible suffering and afflictions, there is yet hope - not in Judah becoming a mighty army again, or the remnant seeking to re-group and rebuild Jerusalem by themselves - there is hope only because God is faithful, God's love never comes to an end, God's mercies continue.

Where do you place your hope, when troubles come? In fate, in friends, in yourself? Or in the steadfast love of the Lord?

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