August 26 (Daily reading: Lamentations 3-5) We have not said a lot about the sufferings of Jeremiah. Remember that he is known as the weeping prophet. God asked him to do many things that put him in great danger, and he suffered much because of it. But God never rejected him and always protected him. Perhaps he is describing his own experiences in Lamentations 3, or perhaps he is thinking of Judah’s suffering in general. However we may understand it, it describes terrible suffering, both physical and emotional.
And then the prophet remembered something that gave him hope: “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (3:22-23). A non-believer says he does not believe in God because of all the suffering in the world. A true believer’s faith is strengthened because he sees God’s lovingkindness and compassion in the middle of the suffering! As sure as the sun comes up every morning, God’s love is present to encourage and guide us. God has proven Himself faithful, and we need never doubt Him. Jeremiah went even further. His hope gave him patience to wait “silently for the salvation of the LORD” (3:26). He could wait, because “the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness” (3:31-32).
Jeremiah returned to his laments in the last half of the book, until we arrive at the very last verses. “You, O LORD, rule forever; Your throne is from generation to generation … Restore us to You, O LORD, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old” (5:19-21). Hope begins by knowing God, the eternal Ruler! Hope continues through restoration and renewal—we can always return to Him!
– Al Gary