The tragedies seem endless – lives ruined and stolen in a split-second by natural disasters, civil unrest, brutal dictators, consuming diseases, war, aborted babies, cyber crimes, drug abuse, false accusations, sex trafficking, terror attacks, plane crashes, road rage, and suicide. The burden is overwhelming, the trauma soul crushing.
How do survivors cope with their emotions and grief? Each response is as varied and unique as the tragedy and the victim. Some react with fear and helplessness; others anger and hate. Many resolve to rebuild their damaged lives, focus on their blessings and work hard to forge a better future. Healing takes time and effort.
Some wonder where is God in all this chaos? Jeremiah knew. As a prophet who served God in the sixth century B.C., he experienced a broad spectrum of pain and suffering. When he pleaded to the people to stop their rebellion against God, he was rejected, labeled a traitor, imprisoned and had his life threatened. Then matters got worse. His beloved city, his home, was devastated by war; the people wounded, taken captive, murdered, or starved to death.
Jeremiah shared his broken heart in poetry, revealing a deep depression and sense of hopelessness.
“My soul has been rejected from peace;
I have forgotten happiness.
My strength has perished,
And so has my expectation from the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:17-18).
Jeremiah had hit rock bottom. In his misery, his mind searched the past; then in a moment of clarity recalled God.
The Lord’s mercies indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning.
Great is Thy faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion, says my soul,
Therefore I have hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:20-24)
From rock bottom despair to eloquent words of praise and worship? What changed? Jeremiah’s circumstances hadn’t – utter destruction surrounded him. His people were still cold and hungry and wounded and his heart ached with remorse. But when he changed focus from his own suffering to God’s faithfulness, he remembered hope.
NEXT WEEK’S BLOG: God – The Author of Hope.