Tuesday 22nd March

Please read Lamentations 3…

Hope in difficult times

Experiencing extreme difficulties, Jeremiah (probable author!) does not mince his words …

‘Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding,
He dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help’

He is seeing God as Judge and the bringer of trouble.

And yet this one sided view is at odds with his belief that God is good (vs25) and ‘does not willingly bring affliction or grief’ (33), restoring those whom he justly judges.

Although he believes that both are true, he cannot cope with both at the same time! He chooses to overcome his feelings and clings to his belief that God is good ‘to those whose hope is in Him’, and this conviction drives him to say – ‘Let Him bury His face in the dust, there may be hope’ (29).

What does this mean? To stop railing against the situation, however unjust it feels, and stop complaining to God. To HOPE takes humility and courage. To stop complaining, possibly forgive, and humbly allow God to accompany him within the troubles, rather than demanding a miraculous intervention. It feels like ‘burying his face in the dust’ – accepting and mourning his situation and waiting quietly on God.

THEN …

he sees hope and sees where God IS working.
In the short term, God may miraculously rescue or heal, or may not, but he will walk humbly with Him whatever. In the long term, he knows that God will make all things well.

In Gethsemane we see Jesus earnestly request the removal of the situation but then accept and walk humbly with His Father in trust and hope for the long term.

When diagnosed with cancer, I felt the same battle as Jeremiah. How long to complain and pray for a miracle? Hope came when humbly waiting and accepting any outcome from the hand of a loving Father, who can heal and defend and who also commissions us to fight against disease, death and all that stands against His Kingdom. Trying to hold both at once is difficult. Knowing that others continued to pray for healing allowed me to ‘wait quietly’ in a place of peace and rest, in the sure hope that God is good. We ‘hope better’ when we share the trouble!

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