Widowed and Forsaken
God, when I face life’s most difficult situations, no one can carry me through but You.
Read Lamentations 1:1-22
 How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.  Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.  After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.  The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed festivals. All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, her young women grieve, and she is in bitter anguish.  Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe.  All the splendor has departed from Daughter Zion. Her princes are like deer that find no pasture; in weakness they have fled before the pursuer.  In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction.  Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have all seen her naked; she herself groans and turns away.  Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. “Look, LORD, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.”  The enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary- those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.  All her people groan as they search for bread; they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive. “Look, LORD, and consider, for I am despised.”  “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?  “From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones. He spread a net for my feet and turned me back. He made me desolate, faint all the day long.  “My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have been hung on my neck, and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has given me into the hands of those I cannot withstand.  “The Lord has rejected all the warriors in my midst; he has summoned an army against me to crush my young men. In his winepress the Lord has trampled Virgin Daughter Judah.  “This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed.”  Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her. The LORD has decreed for Jacob that his neighbors become his foes; Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them.  “The LORD is righteous, yet I rebelled against his command. Listen, all you peoples; look on my suffering. My young men and young women have gone into exile.  “I called to my allies but they betrayed me. My priests and my elders perished in the city while they searched for food to keep themselves alive.  “See, LORD, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious. Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death.  “People have heard my groaning, but there is no one to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my distress; they rejoice at what you have done. May you bring the day you have announced so they may become like me.  “Let all their wickedness come before you; deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my sins. My groans are many and my heart is faint.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow does the writer process these events?
The chapter starts in the third person and then moves to the first. The tragedy of a city (representing the nation) is also a personal tragedy for the author. Jerusalem’s greatness has gone (1,6): her friends have deserted her (2,19); the pagan nations have trampled over the Temple (10). Most of the population are in exile (5), while the few remaining struggle to survive (11). There are many explanations–political, economic, moral–for tragedy. But for our writer two things are clear. First, this is all God’s doing (5,15,17). Yes, the Babylonians were the enemies who invaded, desecrated and destroyed. And, in the custom of the day, the writer calls down divine retribution on them (21,22). But they were only able to do this because God had decreed it. Second, God is righteous in bringing judgment because his people had sinned and rebelled against him (5,8,9,18,20). Jesus warns us (Luke 13:1-5) not to see judgment in every tragedy but nevertheless to let such events remind us of our own need to be right with God.
Write a lament to God. Be totally honest about the areas where you know loss.
God, I will pour out my heart to You and know that You are a God who longs to forgive, to hear, to heal.