This morning in church we sang that beloved hymn, 'Great Is Thy Faithfulness.' Tears came to my eyes and my hand was raised as we sang those familiar, but powerful lyrics. The title comes directly from the book of Lamentations. It was written by the weeping prophet, Jeremiah, and speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Jeremiah is lamenting the starvation from the siege, the wanton looting and killing as the city fell, and anger of God against the people living in the city. Jeremiah doesn't condemn God as to any injustice, but pleads for mercy and that God may remember His people.
If you read the book of Jeremiah, you will realize that he begged these same people for many years to turn back to God. Shortly before the enemy broke through the walls of Jerusalem, King Zedekiah sought Jeremiah's counsel and despite the entreaties of the prophet, the king refused to turn to God, and soon after was rewarded by watching his sons butchered just before his eyes were blinded by the Babylonians.
So where is God in all this? And today, when we face our own very real 'fire-breathing dragons' what do we do? We would do well to look to Jeremiah and take his advice. When financial ruin stares us in the face, when emotionally we are drained because of the storms of life, when everything we have worked for all our lives seems to have gone up in smoke, when everyone and everything has turned against us, remember God. Jeremiah 2:22-26:
Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Remember the Lord's mercies never cease, even when the city is being ransacked by the enemy. Remember His compassions are new every morning, even as the enemy is setting fire to Jerusalem. Read Jeremiah 3:31-32 and understand that because of His lovingkindness (mercy), God will have compassion. In verse 33 we find that God does not afflict willingly.
For the Lord will not cast off forever.
Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
For He does not afflict willingly.
The King is at work in our lives, making us fit for a holy Kingdom. Although He may allow us to suffer, it is never so much that we cannot bear it. And He is there. Remember also that the sparrow does not fall without His knowledge.
My beloved reader, if Jeremiah could break out in praise to the goodness of God in his darkest hour, we would do well to remember that our God infinitely loves us. If He was willing to die for you and me, surely He will care for us through this life. As we go through the valleys, let us trust and remember God.