Sunday, April 8, 2018

But this I recall...

Lamentations 3:19-26  [O Lord] remember [earnestly] my affliction and my misery, my wandering and my outcast state, the wormwood and the gall. My soul has them continually in remembrance and is bowed down within me. But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him. The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word]. It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord.
Have you ever noticed how the enemy torments us with negative thoughts when we are most vulnerable?  satan* loves to torment us with thoughts of fear, failure and frustration, when we are feeling weary, worn out and weak.  I also notice that he will try these tactics in the dark of night or the wee hours of the morning.  he loves to try to get us to start our day off with heaviness.
A couple of weeks ago, after a few months of dealing with the pain of some broken family relationships on my husband's side of the family, and the normal, but still not easy, bumps and bruises that come with ministry life, I had one of those kind of dark of night times. I woke up in the darkness with my mind under an onslaught of memories of every hurt and every failure of the past and tormenting fear about the future.  I got up before the sunrise, begging God to deal with the heaviness and hopelessness these thoughts had brought on.  Not being one who is given to turning to the book of Lamentations for comfort, I knew it was the Lord when I was directed to Lamentations chapter three.  The prophet, Jeremiah is bemoaning the bitter circumstances that God has allowed him to experience.  Though he was walking in obedience to God to the best of his ability, he felt as though he was in a place of relentless attack.  He felt bereft of all hope and expectation for good things and he says, "my affliction and misery, my wandering and outcast state, the wormwood and the gall. My soul has them in continually in remembrance..." I've been there, have you?  The enemy of our souls loves to play a continually repeating tape of the things that aren't right in our lives, the things that aren't fair, the fears of what is to come. But then comes Jeremiah's deliberate turning off of satan's tape player and a deliberate turning on of a new tape.  He makes a choice to recall the mercy and lovingkindness of the Lord and all of the ways that God had not let him be consumed even in the most difficult and bitter circumstances.  He changes his focus to God's mercy, lovingkindness and goodness.
What I am gleaning from chapter three of Lamentations as I keep revisiting it is that God's shoulders are big enough for me to tell him how I really feel.  Jeremiah points his finger at God, so to speak, and says YOU have made all of these bitter things happen to me. YOU have fought against me not for me.  While I'm not sure if that was true theologically, it was how Jeremiah felt, and God doesn't seem shaken or offended at Jeremiah's emotional honestly. I don't think He's shaken or offended at my emotional honesty, or yours, either.  But then, Jeremiah doesn't stay in that place of anger at God.  He reigns in his feelings and refocuses his thoughts on what is true.  He recalls God's sustaining power in His life.  He brings to mind God's goodness, mercy, love and kindness.  Lastly, he chooses to place His hope and expectation for his future into God's hands and to trust that the Lord will deal with his enemies in His time and way.
I love how the Amplified Bible of this chapter says that God's tender compassions fail not.  God was tender to the cries of his weary and beleaguered prophet, even to his cries of anger and frustration.  And God is tender to your cries and mine. This,  I too will choose to recall, and therefore I, too, have hope and expectation. 
(*I choose to never capitalize satan's name or pronouns used for him while I always try to endeavor to capitalize all names referring to God.  This is my small way of noting the truth that the enemy is a defeated foe and that God is always transcendent, in control and victorious over him.)
still following,


  1. Elizabeth, this verse is one I turn to when I need to remind myself to keep on hoping in the Lord. The Lord is always good, always kind and always comes as we wait expectantly for Him. He drops His truth into our lives, realigning our thoughts to remember our enemy is a defeated foe. May we wait expectantly for Him. Blessings!

  2. This is awesome thank you. I needed to read this.

  3. I love that your scripture is on mercy. Beautiful.

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