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. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
These four verses follow twenty previous verses about how God has targeted, tormented and abandoned the writer. The book of Lamentations poetically grieves over the destruction of Jerusalem. The writer struggles to come to terms with all that has been lost. It seems that everything has been taken away from him. Yet these four verses are a statement of faith and hope.
There was a time in my life where I could quote the writer’s lament as my own: “He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is,” the author writes in verses 16-17. These words bring to mind the summer of 2004.
On the night of July 13th, during a power outage, our house caught fire and was badly damaged. Late in the afternoon on July 14th, my best friend Jenny Goodhue and my friend Sam Adams were killed in a car accident in Kansas. So on July 15th, I found myself cowering in the literal and figurative ashes of the life I knew, unable to come to terms with what had been lost.
In many ways I will never “recover” from these events. I suspect the writer of Lamentations never did either. Verse 20 says “My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.”
But I have found in the nearly ten years that have passed since that dreadful summer, that although my soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me, I have not lost my faith. I certainly have not found God to be unfaithful. I have found God to be a constant companion in these years of grief. Indeed it is not my faith that surprises me; it is the faithfulness God shows to us. God’s mercies are new every morning. I have felt God beside me and closer to me than ever before and I know that God continues to grieve with me, ever faithfully.
Thank you God for loving us so much that our broken hearts break yours. Great is your faithfulness and you are greatly to be praised. Amen.
All advent meditations are available for review by going to the archived Advent devotionals in the "history" section under the "About Us" tag on home page of the church website.