A Lament of Hope

By Andrew Dempsey

“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." - Lamentations 3:17-18

ISIS. FERGUSON. NATIONAL DEBT. NUCLEAR WARHEADS. EBOLA. ABORTION. I could go on, but you get the picture. It’s hard to turn on the TV, open a newspaper, or simply scroll through your Facebook feed without being bombarded with what feels like a never ending onslaught of bad news. Death, destruction, and heartbreak abound in a world that seems to be spiraling out of control. Most days, it’s depressing. On the worst days, it’s overwhelming. So we ask, how do we find hope in a world that seems so hopeless? The passage of scripture quoted above, is taken from chapter three of the book of Lamentations. These words were written in the wake of the destruction of the City of Jerusalem. The first two chapters of Lamentations describe in gory detail the pain and destruction that had fallen on God’s chosen people. The author of the book is never named, but we see his pain as his entire world is turned on it’s head. Life, as he had known it, would never be the same. This is a man who’s circumstances had left him feeling like he had no hope. He was exhausted physically, mentally, and spiritually. His soul was longing for peace. Things had been so bad for so long that he didn’t even remember what it was like to be happy. If ever there was a “rock-bottom”, this was it. No home. No peace. No happiness. No hope. 

Or was there?

If we keep reading in Lamentations chapter three verses 21-24, we see an interesting thing happen. He goes on to say, 

"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.”

This man, who was experiencing nothing but pain and heartache, who had lost all earthly comfort and security, looked beyond it all and found hope. Why? Because he was able to “call to mind” what he knew to be true about God and His Word. Based on his circumstances, he had absolutely no reason to feel hopeful about anything. But deep down, he knew that there was something greater and more sure than his circumstances or feelings. He was relying on the “steadfast love of the Lord” that was declared to Adam and Eve in the Garden in Genesis 3. He was embracing the “steadfast love of the Lord” that was covenanted to Abraham and his descendants to bless the whole world through them. He was holding onto the “steadfast love of the Lord” that would one day send the one and only Son of God to the cross to pay for the sins of the world.He was believing in the “steadfast love of the Lord” that would raise Christ from the grave to conquer sin and death. He was trusting in the “steadfast love of the Lord” that would promise the return of King Jesus to make all things new and establish his throne on earth to rule and reign with his people forever in glory!

This, my friends, is where we too find hope. Not in our fleeting, unreliable feelings or our ever-changing circumstances, for these things are but sinking sand. We build our hope on the solid rock of our great and mighty God. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope.”