Hounded but Hopeful
Loving Lord, in the ups and downs of life, You are always the same. I know I can count on You.
Read Lamentations 3:34-66
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.
“‘Man of Sorrows,’ what a name. . .” (Philip Bliss, 1838-1876). Perhaps we, too, need a new sense of God’s heart for a broken world.
The high notes of yesterday are not quite maintained. A recital of injustice,
desperate pleas to God and a cry for vengeance are more prominent. Evil and pain are all-pervasive
and cannot be ignored; they act as a constant challenge to faith, and anyone who pretends otherwise
has not plumbed the depths of human agony or faced the questions that it raises. The refusal to take
personal vengeance and the determination to leave things in God’s hands (64) sounds like the new
covenant (Rom. 12:19) and reminds us that the ultimate solution to the problems can only be found in
We do not have complete answers but if, in some sense at least, we are to see pointers to Christ in this chapter it reminds us that God is, in Christ, entering our pain. Christ is the ultimate forsaken one: his struggles in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-38) and his separation from the Father (Mark 15:34) must surely lie beyond human comprehension, but they are the assurance that he stands with us in all our pain, humiliation and questioning. Sin and the suffering it causes are an alien intrusion into the world; they are part of our reality, but not part of God’s intention.
The sufferer here, and the Jerusalem he seeks to comfort, do not yet have the insight afforded by the cross, but he can see that hope lies in entrusting his, and Jerusalem’s, cause to God, returning to him and acknowledging sin (40). The Hebrew word for “return,” here, is often translated “repent”; the basis of repentance is coming back to God. Lamentations, written at the start of the Exile, is not the last word: Judah has yet to appropriate the word of Isaiah 40. There is comfort, sin has been paid for, and a road for return is being prepared. For us that can only ultimately be true in Christ.
Read again verses 40-42. How can these verses help you when you consider confession and forgiveness?
Lord Jesus, I thank You that through Your death I have received life; in You I can live fully now, and one day I will live forever.