This book of Lamentations gushes with emotion. It was birthed out of excruciating pain in troubling days. Their desolate land was stripped of its splendor. They had been robbed of their treasures. Their sins had been exposed, and they were moaning in nakedness and deep sorrow. Like ancient Israel, we may feel like we are living with a backdrop of grief.
They and we long for comfort, but . . . you fill in the blank!
We can easily parallel what we see in our world today—obvious reasons to grieve and more than adequate motivation for repentance.
In Lamentations 2:18, Jeremiah urges the people to turn their city walls into a wailing wall by crying to the Lord and pouring out their hearts like an unending flow of water: “Let your tears run down like a river day and night; Give yourself no relief, Let your eyes have no rest.”
We may need a change of perspective.
Although logically repentance and forgiveness would seem impossible under the exiled circumstances, Jeremiah’s reason for hope doesn’t rest in buildings or traditions, human platforms or rituals. Instead of plunging into despair, the prophet remembers:
- God’s forgiveness issues from love, not temples or church buildings.
- His mercy reaches into repentant hearts, not lives hardened by constantly focusing on personal or national troubles.
- Our patience wears thin, but the Father’s compassions are, according to the original language, the total negation of being consumed, vanished, or spent.
- His tender mercy and sensitive love may be accessed or refreshed every morning when we hope in the everlasting Lord.
As joint heirs with Jesus Christ, we can unite our voices with the psalmists and the prophet, declaring (paraphrased):
“Our flesh and our hearts may fail, but God you are the strength of our hearts and our portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
“We wait for You, Lord, our whole being [entire congregation, community, nation] waits and puts our hope in Your Word” (Psalm 130:5).
“‘LORD You are our portion; therefore, we will wait for You.’ LORD, You are good to those whose hope is in You, ‘to the one who seeks You; it is good to wait quietly for You salvation LORD” (Lamentations 3:24–26).