Today I read what I'm going to predict will be one of the only uplifting passages in Lamentations. And I don't think you can blame me if that seems pessimistic as the name of the book is, after all, Lamentations. So this is a passage I would like to hold onto as I read...and I think that was probably the intended purpose of the passage anyway: something to hold onto in the midst of whatever may come our way.
Lamentations 3:20-26 and 31-33
"I well remember [my afflictions] and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord...
...For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone."
In this midst of what has been a rather trying year, and the recent difficult waiting period I went through, I can see what a difference it makes to hold onto truths like these.
Before I started this blogging project I had a long, long season of doors closing and praying and trying to cling to God's promises, etc. And it's actually really great that I can see this comparison so immediately in my life...because in the past 41 days, discipling myself to read my Bible every day, I have actually noticed a difference in my faith.
These things that Jeremiah is saying...to remind yourself that God is loving and compassionate...make a big difference and I am realizing how crucial it is to do this every single day.
Maybe somedays when I pick up the Bible it doesn't hit me as significantly as I'd like it to, but I think that actually points to my need to make the Word even more apart of my life. I need the Word in my life every single day because I don't naturally believe the Word every single day.
I used to come to the Word every once in a while expecting it to be a radical life-altering moment. And it was always a hit or a miss scenario, a "hit" because yes, sometimes God works in big sweep-you-off-your-feet gestures. And whenever it was a "miss"it discouraged me from coming to the Word again for a while.
But now, since starting this project, coming to the Word has become a discipline based on the idea that God works in big sweep-you-off-your-feet gestures sometimes but most of the time it's slower than that. Most of the time He works in the daily planting, watering, and stretching of my heart to grow more and more in the knowledge of God's love, mercy, compassion and grace. And this actually makes a bigger impact.
As I'm trying to explain this I'm realizing how difficult it is to explain, especially with my dog barking incessantly in the background. But maybe the reason it's hard to explain is because it's hard to explain. And if you want to get it, if you want to understand what I'm saying, you just need to read the Bible every day.
I think we talk about "studying" the Bible too much and we make the Bible seem like this big confusing wordy out-of-reach thing...and it is complex, sure...but it's not hard to read. Just read the Bible. This is a thing I needed to do, and it's been 41 days and I'm convinced this is has got to be my life from now own.
So, getting back to the passage. I may have a hard time getting through Lamentations in all of it's depressing...laments...and maybe I will find it hard somedays to figure out what God is saying to me. But God is good, loving and compassionate and that is something to cling to in life's difficult seasons, whether it's the simple difficulty of reading Lamentations or the real difficulties that come in life.