Sunday, February 21, 2021

Rock Solid Truth You Can Count On

by Elizabeth Stewart

"You have bereaved my soul and cast it off far from peace; I have forgotten what good and happiness are.And I say, Perished is my strength and my expectation from the Lord. 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. Lamentations 3:18-24

I love how gut level honest the Bible is. God's Word doesn't gloss over the way God's people struggle. Suffering, disappointment, frustration, doubt, fear and anger are common experiences and emotions for us all and the Bible reflects those experiences and emotions even in the lives of those we consider the Bible's heroes. 

Jeremiah, prophet to the people of Judah, was given a not so pleasant assignment by God. His job was to tell the people that they were going to go into captivity as a consequence of their continual disobedience and unfaithfulness to God. Needless to say, Jeremiah, being the bearer of this bad news, was not received graciously. He was also grief stricken at what he saw happening around him. In the third chapter of Lamentations he gets gut level honest with God about how he is feeling, and it is definitely not pretty! But then, in the middle of all of his complaining he makes a deliberate choice. He chooses to call to mind, to remember, God's steadfast love and mercy. In remembering these things about God's character, he finds renewed hope.

Through 2020 and on into this year, understandably many of us are struggling to remain hopeful as we look at the condition of our nation and world. Then, added on top of all that are the struggles and trials we all periodically face in our personal lives. One thing we all have in common, besides the fact that we all face times of struggle and suffering, is that we all also have the power of our mind to shift focus off the temporary trial we are facing, and onto the eternal, steadfast character of God - just as Jeremiah did.

My father-in-law's favorite verse was Isaiah 26:3."You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Youbecause He trusts in You." My mother-in-law was a glass half empty type person. She was driven by negativity, worry and fear. In a way that I'm pretty sure annoyed her, her husband was always trying to get her to shift focus by quoting this verse. I'm sure that living with a mind that is at peace in the midst of life's trials seemed like an impossibility to her. And it is an impossibility, if we don't fill our mind with the truth about God's character and His faithful promises to us. We've got to have something more than positive thinking to set our mind on, we need to have some rock solid truth. Whatever you are facing today, God's steadfast love for you never ceases, His mercies for you never come to an end. That is a rock solid truth we can all count on no matter what life brings our way.

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