O Lord, You have pleaded my soul’s cause; You have redeemed my life. Lamentations 3:58, NASB
Plucked from the middle of one of the saddest Old Testament books, this verse flashes as a beckon of hope. A reminder of what is true, even still in the midst of the unthinkable.
I watched the Hunger Games and Catching Fire recently. Set in circumstances most of us consider beyond the realm of possible, I read Lamentations and then think ‘oh, no. Way possible. In fact, it could be so much worse.’ Thinking back on the cruel proposition of Suzanne Collin’s books, I wonder what would I do? How could I hold on to joy? Would faith sustain in such a horrible and heart-crushing arena?
In Jeremiah’s case, it was worse. Things couldn’t get much more so. Starvation, desolation, cannibalism, and utter destruction. Hopelessness colors the backdrop of life. And yet, tucked in the third chapter of Jeremiah’s outcry, we read gems so unbelievable and beautiful that even the most stoic are brought to tears.
This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” (Lam. 3:21-24)
You drew near when I called on You; You said, “Do not fear!” (Lam. 3:57)
In Awana, I recently taught on Moses, the baby in the basket. The take away was this: Life can get ugly. Sometimes things are bad. Really, really bad. Does that mean that God does not see? Does not care?
No. No, it doesn’t. Israel was delivered—redeemed from the enslavement of the Egyptians. But it came through pain. It came through difficulty.
Being redeemed doesn’t mean I get to live on ‘Boardwalk’ for the rest of my life. The easy-peasy life of a Christian is generally an Americanization of Biblical theology. It isn’t promised in the Bible. The promise is this: those whom God has redeemed He will hold. His faithfulness is greater than all the bad in life. Stronger than the worse suffering. He reminds us of His sure redemption and calls us to look to eternity.
That is the anchor of hope.