Is That the Sun I See?
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” —Lamentations 3:22, NIV.
Strange words from a man observing the destruction of everything that his society held dear. The name of the book, Lamentations, tells us the story in one word. This is Jeremiah’s lament over the devastation of a nation. Still, hope peeks out from behind the curtain of despair. Hope comes clothed in what the prophet knows of the character of God.
“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; 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…for men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men” (3:24-26, 31-33).
Jeremiah knows that God is good. He understands the patience and love that God has shown to His people constantly despite their rebellion and sin. He recognizes good parenting, that there comes a time when love has to be delivered at the end of a rod. But Jeremiah never doubts that the rod is wielded by a loving and faithful hand, by One committed to His people and to their good.
It’s that faith in God’s unchanging character that brings the prophet hope even as he sheds bucket loads of tears over the decimation of his city and his people. Many are driven away from God in times of trouble because they have doubts about His character, because they don’t know Him. But for Jeremiah, his faith in a loving and faithful God drives him to the Lord, to wait patiently and quietly for the Almighty to show mercy once more, to do what needs to be done to restore His glory and to bring back a wayward people. The prophet knows God will be true to Himself, and in being true to His own nature He will be true to His children.
That faith puts the glow of sun around a cloud of tears.