“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 thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3.21-23, NASB). It was only recently that I realized that the author of this biblical passage, Jeremiah, did not pen this refrain during a season of blessing or great favor. He wrote this while the Israelites were in captivity in a foreign land. They had been defeated and carried away, as a result of their own sin but that is another story, and now they faced uncertainty, insecurity, and instability. Although Jeremiah prophesied and told the people that this would happen if they did not heed his warning, he is still depressed and heartbroken over the state of the nation and the land.
But something happens that changes Jeremiah’s tone. He begins to recount, to remember in fact the great mercies of the Lord. He began to bring to his remembrance all of the wonderful things that God in his life and in the life of his people in the past. Such reflection caused him to realize that as dire as the situation looked, that they could place their trust, place their hope in God. Although they were in captivity, nothing could change that, Jeremiah knew that somehow, someway God would come through for them and that they would once again enjoy his mercies and lovingkindness.
I must confess that my situation is quite different than Jeremiah. I am not being carried away to captivity, at least I do not think so, but as I look across the horizon I do face some things that could cause me to begin to lament as Jeremiah did in the first half of Lamentations. However, instead of getting stuck in those bleak thoughts and ideals, I have begun to do actually what Jeremiah does in this passage I aforementioned. I recall to my mind all of the situations and circumstances where God has shown himself strong on my behalf. I remember times without number when I was out of answers and out of resources that God stepped in and made a way where there did not seem to be one present.
One particular experience comes to mind. A few years back, I felt led by the Lord to take an internship at another church different than my own. Since the internship was full-time, it demanded that I take a leave of absence from my job. I hoped and prayed that after the internship was over that a better job opportunity would present itself but this was not the case. However, because I had to take this leave, my position at my former place of employment was given to another although I was still on the books. But God came through and provided as another location within the same company asked me to come and join their staff team.
As I look back over my life, there are so many similar opportunities like this. Times when I was without food in college, God used roommates to pitch in a few dollars. Times when my 98 Ford Contour broke down, God used other friends to step in and meet a need. When I lost a job because of scheduling conflicts, the stipend for my internship kicked in at just the right moment. When I needed to raise over $4000 for a mission trip and was far from my goal a week before leaving, God used people who were going on that same trip to sponsor me. I hope you get the picture.
These things, like Jeremiah, I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope! Not because of what I see in front of me, and certainly not because of anything that I have done. I have hope, in God actually, because of what I have seen him do in the past times without number. For his track record in my life, I am more than confident that the situation that is starring me dead in the face today will not be the same tomorrow. Because he is faithful, more than faithful! It is simply who He is, He will never not be faithful.
How has God been faithful to you? I hope that you remember those times for future reference or even for the season that you are in right now. As we remember and recount our testimonies of the Lord’s goodness in our lives, the problems that we have begin to minimize in comparison. I say this not to trivialize our problems but to magnify the Lord’s ability, willingness and faithfulness in whatever we face. Be encouraged!