“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS.” Lamentations 3:22-23
These two verses were nothing new to me. I’d probably sung them a hundred times (or more) within the chorus of the well-known hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
But I had never before looked at the context of these verses…until one morning in November of 2014. What I learned that morning transformed these verses into absolute bedrocks of my faith that would sustain me less than two weeks later when I received the devastating news that my unborn child’s heart had stopped beating…bedrocks that I will return to time and time again as future trials come my way.
I pray that you, too, will find your faith strengthened by the beautiful truths found in Lamentations 3.
For the first twenty verses, the author goes on and on about how he is “under the rod of [God’s] wrath.” He claims that God is afflicting him on every front:
Physically: “He has made my flesh and skin waste away…” vv. 4-6
Spiritually: “…though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer…” vv. 7-9
Emotionally: “I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts…” vv. 14-15
He feels so beat up by the Lord that he says, “My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is….”
And then, just as he has described how his afflictions are constantly on his mind weighing him down, he makes this OUTLANDISH statement:
“But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.”
WHAT?!?! Does he realize how ludicrous that sounds?
It is not as though I misunderstood him in verses 1-20 when he stated that God was the cause of all his troubles, for he repeats the idea twice more in the chapter—in verses 32 and 38.
This raised a pressing question: How could the author of Lamentations claim on the one hand that God is afflicting him, but yet, on the other hand, this same God is merciful and loving and the source of his hope?
Fortunately, verses 25-33 share a precious, life-changing answer.
(1) There is something good about suffering patiently.
“…It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord…” (Vv. 25-27)
Paul concurs with this truth as he writes in Romans 5, “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
(2) There is a future hope for reprieve from suffering.
“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love…” (Vv. 31-32) Though our suffering may feel unending, it. will. not. last. forever. Hallelujah!
(3) God has a greater purpose for suffering and affliction.
Verses 33-36 explain two key concepts:
We may not always understand his purpose behind our suffering, but we can rest assured that our suffering is not meaningless. God is using it for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory.
Andrea is a daughter of the King, blessed with her dream job of being a wife and mother. Her role as a pastor’s wife complements her passion for ministry, while her role as “mommy” fits perfectly with her other passions: discipling children, turning junk into crafts, eating pb&j, reading books, playing outside, and building obstacle courses.
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