Lamentations 3:22-24 22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
It’s hard to imagine that out of the dust of ashes from our pain and grief that hope could arise. Yet when I read Lamentations two months ago, that’s exactly what the Lord showed me. Grief is a sign of hope.
The prophet Jeremiah was heartbroken and distraught over his people and the country because of the awful things he saw and the sins committed by those he kept speaking the Word of God to. He knew that because of Jerusalem’s disobedience, the anger of the Lord (Lamentations 2:1), was upon their nation.
Jeremiah like us dealt with the heartache and pain of seeing individuals I’m sure he knew and cared for taken away. The book of Lamentations is literally a lament, a cry, and mourning by the prophet for his country and its citizens. We too mourn at the losses we may have endured.
Yet even through losses experienced on a personal level with death or the chaos around the world, as Christ-followers, we have HOPE. We see in verses 22-23, this hope expressed.
When the prophet recalls to his mind, it’s of the Lord’s mercies, we are not consumed, it’s because of God’s compassion. Not only does the Lord show His tenderness, but His mercy becomes new as well.
What the Lord's mercies tell us
This tells me a few things:
- God is fully aware we will go through some hard stuff in life. He’s unfazed by our own doubts of faith in Him. (Psalm 103:14; 2 Timothy 2:13)
- We will still be able to recall the goodness of God despite our tragedy. v. 21
- Our grief and pain won’t overtake us v. 22
- God’s mercy and kindness towards us will remain. v. 22
- His faithfulness to us despite our painful circumstances is unending. v. 23
- We can continue to have hope in the Lord. v. 24
Grief became a sign of hope to Mary and Martha in John 11:1-3. Their brother Lazarus became very ill and eventually passed away. Lazarus was near death, but they knew that if Jesus came to see him, he would be healed. However, that’s not quite what Jesus had in mind.
It’s not always easy to understand or accept when our prayers for a sick loved one go unanswered.
A few years ago, I suddenly lost one of my best friend’s who was also a partner to me in the ministry. To this day, I sometimes wonder why God didn’t heal her. However, I took comfort then and now, knowing that the Lord wasn’t being indifferent to answering my prayers for my friend.
Look at what Jesus told His disciples regarding Lazarus’s illness:
After Lazarus had died, Martha still had hope that the Lord could have changed her brother’s situation. (John 11:21-22):
21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
Martha continued to have hope despite her grief of losing her brother. You know the story. Jesus did miraculously heal Lazarus and raise him from the dead (John 11:25).
What I think is more miraculous is the attitude of Martha’s heart. Her faith and hope in God didn’t waiver in her grief. She believed and knew if Jesus didn’t heal her brother on this side in the natural, she would see him again on the other side. (John 11:24).
Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
We may not see that kind of miracle healing for our loved one, but one thing we can know for certain is that we don’t have to grieve like people who are without hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13.
We can declare with boldness to the enemy of our soul, “grief is a sign of hope”!:
O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?
PRAYER: Thank you Lord that even when I walk through the valley of death and grief, I won't be consumed. Thank you for your new mercies and compassion for me.
In Jesus' mighty name!