“Your mercies are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
Do you recognize this Bible verse? It is a popular one, a verse often memorized and recited. This verse encourages us to remember that God is with us each day. No matter what happened yesterday…no matter what may happen tomorrow…God is here TODAY.
This verse becomes even more powerful when we realize why it was written, by a prophet named Jeremiah. Here is the context:
Jerusalem Falls: That’s right, the capital city of Israel is conquered by the Babylonians. This is a nightmare situation for Israel. Their friends and loved ones are now being exiled to other countries as they are no longer a free country.
Jeremiah Witnesses: The prophet Jeremiah sees the destruction of Israel, his people. For years he warned them that this would happen and now, it finally does. Jeremiah is heartbroken for his people.
Uncertain Future: God’s people did not see this catastrophic event coming. Now they must scramble to find out how God could possibly be a part of this. Had God given up on them?
In light of all of this occurring, Jeremiah wrote five poems of lament. A lament is a passionate expression of grief. I bet there have been times in your life when you have needed to lament.
Here are some examples of Jeremiah’s lament:
How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
has now become a slave.
Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is no one to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
they have become her enemies
I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.
The poems of Lamentations are full of examples of extreme sadness. These poems are powerful reminders that it is ok to feel sadness and grief. It is okay not to have it all together. It is okay to struggle. In our culture there is a subtle pressure to “put on a happy face.” There is a temptation to hide your true feelings and pretend that everything is okay. This book in the Bible offers an alternative view: present your true, authentic feelings to God.
Incredibly, in the middle of this poem of lament, we find hope.
“The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
Your mercies are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
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.”
Every day is a new chance.
God has not give up on you.
Great is your faithfulness.
Jeremiah dared to hope. Why? Because he believed that in light of God’s overwhelming love, he would never be fully consumed by his grief. I am sure there were days when he thought he would be. I’m sure there were days he did not want to get out of bed and face the day. You may have those days too. Or you may know someone who does.
There is hope in the midst of grief because God’s mercies are new every morning. That is a reason to celebrate!
See you on Sunday!