The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Imagine what it must have been like for the lamenter who wrote these words. The beloved City on a Hill, Jerusalem, lay in ruins and the people carried off by Babylon. Where is God? Why has God abandoned us?
The chapter starts with crushing emotions at the hand of God, images of darkness, brokenness, bitterness, emptiness and despair. The author truly feels that God has taken aim with heart piercing arrows targeting God’s own people. In many ways the passage parallels Jesus’ own passion on his way to and on the cross. He also cried out against the fury of God’s wrath. Been there?
When I was young I can remember praying and feeling very much like my words bounced off the ceiling only to fall flat on the floor to be trampled. Life as a teenager can be filled with crushing emotions. Yet there I was crying out into emptiness. Now I am older and understand that God is there, I believe it with all my heart. Even so, when my cries to God for our world, that often lays in ruins, go out in prayer I still sometimes feel that they go into … emptiness. Where do we begin to find God in our current sadness when we feel that God is not there?
The lamenter takes a “tragic reversal” and turns from despair to hope. It is deliberate. In spite of all the ruin and abandonment, even feeling targeted the lamenter is determined to see God’s steadfast, never-ending, faithful showering of love and mercy.
The beginning of hope is our determination to remember God is with us even in the darkness, Jesus shares our brokenness. Every day we can awaken and look for new mercies. They are there, all around us, hidden like gems in the ruins. Every night when we say goodnight to God we can expect that God, though often silent is actively listening. And we can know, determined to believe, that when God speaks the words will bring love, mercy and comfort. I am comforted in knowing that will not change. You can be too!
Lord God, you always hear us. Help us to see, to experience your tender mercies and great love for us. Amen