“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.” (Lamentations 3:23)
I don’t think I’m being morbid to say that at some stage in life everyone has bad things happen. Not everyone is like me, suffering unemployment three or four times, and cancer three times. Some people have a much easier life, some much harder. I don’t know what kind of heartaches you have faced in your life. But eventually there will be some.
And in those times, knowing God’s love and mercy will save you from despair.
The prophet Jeremiah found that to be true. Jeremiah had the hard job of passing on God’s message that the people of Israel were so sinful that God was not going to protect them from other nations that wanted to hurt them. And then he watched as the Babylonian armies marched into Jerusalem and forced people to leave their homes and go off and live in Babylon.
Jeremiah sat in the near empty city afterwards and lamented. He wished they had listened. That’s why the full name of the book is “The Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet”.
Amazingly in the midst of his anguish – his “affliction,… the wormwood and the gall” – Jeremiah says, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…”
What does he call to mind?
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases” – Steadfast means firm and solid and unmovable. God’s love for his children is firm, unchangeable and never ends. Even when we have to be disciplined by our Father, it’s because he loves us.
“His mercies never come to an end” – If we trust him we will experience his mercy. Most importantly we will have eternal life in Jesus.
“They are new every morning” – Every day we can see the signs of God’s mercies. The sun rising, the rain watering the land, children eating and drinking with their families. The sinfulness of mankind is such that God would be correct if he destroyed everyone every day. But He doesn’t. He continues to make the world go round, and give the good things we see about us. He is patient, giving us chance to come to repentance and faith in Jesus.
Even Jeremiah in the dust and desolation of a ransacked city could say that God’s mercies “are new every morning”. Each day he could open his eyes in the morning, and thank the Lord for his saving grace, for his eternal hope, for his wonderful future inheritance, for loving him – even though his eyes could see the carnage around him.
So in the carnage of our lives, the desolation that we feel, call this to mind and 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”.