“This I call to mind, therefore I hope.” (Lamentations 3:21)
Talk about a bad day; no, check that — a really bad day. No, worse even — a really, really bad stretch of really bad, bad days. That is what our lamenting poet is trying to describe for us in classic hyperbole as he tells of his awful woes .
“I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath,” he begins. And what follows is nothing less than gloom, despair, and agony!
To summarize for you — He is a man in the darkness, and not the light;and the Lord is turned against him all day long. His skin is old, and dried up, and his bones frail and brittle. He is fenced in all about with bitterness, chained with travail, and his prayers have been banished from entering heaven! People have made his situation the subject of derision; his soul is far removed from peace, and he has long forgotten what it was like to walk in prosperity.
See what I mean? This guy is having a really, really, really bad day.
Occasionally you run across something in the Bible that makes you wonder why it’s in there. Something dark and disturbing; something you don’t want to read, because it makes you think that it might happen to you. But I’m a preacher, so I have to read it! And so, for your sake I draw a deep breath, man-up to the moment of truth, face my fears and read the dreadful passage.
And then I discover something truly inspiring.
Listen to this extraordinary statement this embattled man makes in the same breath with which he tells us his woeful tale — “but this I call to mind, therefore I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23).
In this man’s darkest moment God’s light shines the brightest of all! Corrie Ten Boom said of her experience in the Nazi prison camp Ravenbruck, “There is no pit so deep, but that God’s love is not deeper still.”
We all have our bad days. And we all have God’s very own assurance that He will never permit us to be tested above what we are able to bear. We each have the opportunity to choose our response to every situation that we face.
God is looking for that man or woman who can say with Job, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Those who, like lamenting Jeremiah, nevertheless find hope in the midst of their most hopeless moments – and give glory to God even though Satan and circumstances all but demand that they curse Him.
I have the distinct feeling that I am writing this particular post for someone very specific today. Is it you?