If you were to look up the word faith in the dictionary, you may find the following definition: complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Lately, this word has lingered in my mind as I process the tragic truths surrounding the poetic book of Lamentations. As I studied to gather more insight into the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the temple, I came across this statement that seeks to give reason for these writings and provided me with some valuable insight. I read, “When sorrow becomes detached from history, suffering gets out of hand because perspective is lost, tempting a suffering person to lose touch with reality.” When you read through this brief letter, it is hard to imagine the desperation being written about, for we are so detached from its history. If one were to only focus on such tragic events, however real they may be, separate from God’s nature and presence, despair would be the only reality.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases: his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
Jeremiah, witnessing and experiencing such traumatic events as God’s judgment comes upon them for blatant disobedience (Lamentations 1:8), is overwhelmed with sorrow: a sorrow that could leave him unsure of certain realities about his God. So, he pens, in part, these words that seem to be out of place regarding his circumstance: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…” My NKJV says, “Because His compassions fail not…” Then, there is the ETRV that says it so simply, “The Lord’s love and kindness never ends. His compassion never ends.” According to my study books, compassion is the definition for this Hebrew word translated love in this verse. Compassion means sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. Listen to Lamentations 3:32, “When the Lord punishes, he also has mercy. He has mercy because of his great love and kindness” (ETRV). Jeremiah did not allow his circumstances to blur his perception (i.e., reality) of God.
But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
It took faith for Jeremiah to see God in this fashion during this time of great distress, when his physical realities around him would seem to say God does not love His people. It is here, that we too are reminded not to focus only on our circumstances. We must allow the reality of God and the fact that His nature is love (1st John 4:8), to help guide us through troubled waters. So, let faith cry out, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end.” May our confidence always be in You, Lord.