Friday, January 2, 2009

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Lamentations 3:22-23
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.

It's a familiar passage, one I've know and loved for years. I love the song based on it. This past year was a year where those verses in their context became more meaningful.

2008 was not all I'd imagined or hoped it would be. I'm sure many people would say that. I've certainly had other years with failures or disappointments or struggles - it wasn't unique in that regard - but this year was more of a crisis of faith than I've gone through before.

Sometimes there are just really dark hours, when God hides his face, doesn't seem to hear our prayers, doesn't seem to keep his promises. When I went back and searched the scriptures, I was comforted to know I wasn't alone in this experience.

David certainly experienced times like that. Check out what he says in Psalm 10: "Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" Or in Psalm 22: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer."

Look at a few verses that precede the ones above. What does Jeremiah say God did to him?
  • He afflicted him with the rod of his wrath. (v 1)
  • He turned his hand against him again and again. (v 2)
  • He broke his bones. (v 4)
  • He besieged him and surrounded him with bitterness and hardship. (v 5)
  • He walled him in so he could not escape; he weighed him down with chains. (v 7)
  • When he cried out for help, God shut out his prayer. (v 8)
  • Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, He dragged him from the path and mangled him and left him without help. (v 10-11)
Jeremiah goes on to describe how God used him for target practice, broke his teeth, trampled him underfoot. As bad as some things were for me, they don't come close to that!

People have certainly turned away from God for far less. What was Jeremiah's response to all of this?
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
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.
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."

Jeremiah knew his situation was temporary. He knew the Lord was his portion - all he needed. He quietly waited for the Lord to save him. Even though he brings us trials, the Lord also shows compassion. How great is His unfailing love!

Whatever you may be going through or whatever troubles 2008 brought you, I pray you'll keep waiting for the salvation of the Lord. What a shame to experience the grief the Lord brings and not stick around to experience His unfailing love at the end of it.

May 2009 be a blessed new year for you -- Not because you get everything you want or because everything works out the way you hope, but because you have the Lord, because you see that He is all you need, and you find His great love for you new every morning.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Amen to that!