...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."Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 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."
...For the lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.
...Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?
...Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!"
(Lamentations 3: 17-24, 31-33, 37-38, 40)
My darkest, most despairing moments are always outcroppings of tenacious sin beneath the surface. Sin that is not as obvious as immorality, abusive speech, or deceit; but sin that is equally destructive. Sin that takes shape in discontentment, complaining, fear, striving in the flesh, not rejoicing, not praising...sin that renders me apathetic and spent. Yesterday was one such day where my sinfulness collided with my perception of overwhelming circumstances to produce the greatest of despair and sadness. As I fell upon the Lord's mercy, and pleaded with Him to produce within me an unrivaled love for Him, I was answered with the "steadfast love of the Lord," described in Lamentations 3. Yet, the context in Lamentations 3 is not comfort and ease, but that of pain and inner-conflict; that of surrender and repentance. Great is His faithfulness! Though He disciplines and chastens, though He may at times seem silent, He calls us to repentance and, as with Israel, He keeps His promises and gives hope to the weary soul.
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