Lament: (verb) to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something. (noun) an expression of sorrow
When was the last time you lamented? Seriously, when was the last time you threw a good lament God’s way? (If it has been a while feel free to let one fly. God can handle it – I promise) Well, the Bible is filled with them, and the book of Lamentations contains five of them (hence the name). Lamentations describes one of Israel’s saddest moments, the destruction of Jerusalem to Babylon (587 BC).
In chapter three the author describes the agony of God’s judgment. It begins, “I am the man who has seen affliction… (v. 1).” Right away you know this is not going to be sunshine and roses. And it only gets worse. Listen to some of these phrases: enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation (v. 5); walled me about so that I cannot escape (v. 7); though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer (v. 8); he has made me desolate (v. 11); I have become a laughingstock (v. 14). And at his lowest point he says this: “My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD (vv. 17-18).” This is a man who has given up hope.
A few verses later he writes:
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.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (vv. 21-25)
He snaps back to his senses when he remembers the Lord’s love, mercy, faithfulness, and goodness. I said all of that to say this: No matter how bleak things may look at times, God is still God. Wait for him. Seek him. Hope. In. Him. Our hope will not be put to shame (Psalm 119:116; Rom 5:5). Hope is the imagination of the soul. When was last time you truly hoped for something? When will be the next? How about right now? Let’s let our collective imaginations run wild, and see what God does.
Hopefully hoping (I have no idea what that means, but…),
– Immanuel Marsh