The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lamentations 3:25, ESV)
The book of Lamentations was written by Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet.” He was sent of God to preach to his own people with the knowledge that they would not have the heart to heed him. He spent years warning his people to repent and telling them that if they did not, the Babylonians would one day invade and take them captive. Events would prove him right. After seeing the fall of Jerusalem and witnessing the destruction of Solomon’s Temple, Jeremiah wrote Lamentations to comfort his people and himself.
What is important for us to see is how he dealt with his grief and the grief of his people.
Lamentations 3:18b-20 (ESV)
(18) …My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD.
(19) Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!
(20) My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
The Book of Lamentations reads very much like the Psalms and like the psalmists, Jeremiah is very candid about his heartache. Sometimes we try to sound spiritual before God when in our heart we are angry, bitter or sorrowful. What’s the point of hiding what’s in my heart when God already knows what’s there? He’s not threatened or intimidated by my venting to Him. He prefers that I be honest in my prayers rather than “spiritual,” so to speak, and this was Jeremiah. Consider how shocking his words. Here we have a prophet of God saying he is at then end of himself and has lost all hope in God. A man of God isn’t supposed to say that, is he? Jeremiah did. But the key here is that he did not say that to just anyone. He said these things the One Person who could actually do something about his anguish. He said these things to God.
Jeremiah and his people had literally lost everything and now they were going to be taken to a strange land, amongst strange people who worshipped strange gods. Jeremiah’s own generation would die far from the Promised Land and for the Jews of his day, that was a fate worse than death. There was no bright side to their circumstances and Jeremiah did not pretend there was, but he also did not exaggerate his plight. He evaluated his circumstances through God’s lens – and then he remembered the goodness of God:
Lamentations 3:21-23 (ESV)
(21) But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
(22) The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
(23) they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
The best thing we can do when we are grieving is to remember who our God is. First, Jeremiah remembered the promises of God. One day God would restore the Jews to the Promised Land. The prophet knew it would not be in his lifetime, but it would happen. He also called to mind the faithfulness of God to His people, His steadfast love for His people and His manifold mercies. They “never come to an end,” even if for the moment, it seems our world has ended. As long as there is God, there is hope and that is what Jeremiah concluded after bearing the desperate heartache of his soul:
(24) “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
(25) The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
How does all this apply to us as believers today? As Christians, we have the Gospel and a personal relationship to God through Jesus Christ. There is nothing, not even our most desperate circumstances, that can take that away from us (See Romans 8:18, 38-39). Ultimately, no matter what comes our way, we will always have God. So, no matter how depressing our current situation may be, we can realize along with Jeremiah that the worst that can ever happen to us is Heaven!