God – The Author of Hope

The hope of the LORD pulled the prophet Jeremiah out of the pit of depression.

What is the hope that Jeremiah experienced? It wasn’t wishful thinking or blind optimism. It didn’t come from Jeremiah’s strength of character or personal willpower. This hope was based on the promises and absolute trustworthiness of the one true God – compassionate and faithful, all-knowing and all-powerful.  Jeremiah wrote:

            The Lord’s mercies indeed never cease,

            For His compassions never fail.

            They are new every morning;

            Great is Thy faithfulness.   (Lamentations 3: 20-23)

The Hebrew noun that Jeremiah used in verse 22 (chesed), translated here as mercies, also means loving-kindness, goodness, devotion, and steadfast love. Chesed is an aspect of God, a central feature of His character.

Hope is born of the LORD’S mercies.

The LORD’S mercies are available to His people who need redemption from troubles, enemies, and sin. Jeremiah needed redemption from all three.

            “The LORD is my portion, says my soul,

            Therefore I have hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3: 24)

Jeremiah’s hope (a patient, expectant waiting) rested on the LORD’S promise of rescue to those who seek and worship the Lord and wait patiently for the LORD (Lamentations 3: 25-26) and shows us how the hope of God can transcend circumstances, tragedies, suffering, and evil.

Jeremiah was humbled by God and strengthened by God.

No one could experience the suffering that Jeremiah endured and not be devastated. Yet Jeremiah believed the LORD would rescue his soul. He didn’t know when or how. His relationship with the LORD was the lifeline that restored Jeremiah’s mind to sanity. His primary focus wasn’t on physical rescue for himself, but rather on worshiping the one true God. Jeremiah understood what many people deny – the LORD is holy and deserves our worship regardless of our circumstances or suffering.

The next time you’re faced with overwhelming troubles or deep sorrow, remember God, the source of hope.

NOTE: Only a brief glimpse of Jeremiah’s deep and complex relationship with the LORD is explored in this post. The Book of Jeremiah and the Lamentations of Jeremiah are filled with history and spiritual lessons for all those who seek to know and worship the one true God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Hope

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.

A Shared Cup

A Shared Cup. Image staged by Julie Anne. ©2019. Anne Monroe Designs. All rights reserved.

I filled my new cup three-quarters full; so I could see the blue butterfly that graces the inside rim. Three days ago I mailed my sister a cup just like mine.

On the outside of the white cup are more blue butterflies, poised around stems of blue larkspur. I chose this cup because my sister likes blue. Her cup arrived yesterday.

I took a sip of freshly-brewed coffee, then read the words on the cup.

The Lord’s mercies are new every morning.

A promise from God. I bought these two cups to remind my sister and me of our love for each other, and our shared faith in Christ Jesus, the Lord.

The Lord’s mercies . . .

My sister is blessed, and she knows this with certainty, even though like most of us she has some personal struggles. Others might question why she thinks God is so good.

. . . are new . . .

She is hopeful, always looking for the blessings that God brings to every situation. Some might think she is putting on an act. She isn’t.

. . . every morning.

My sister is faithful, every day, to trust in God and His mercies.  I know that her faith is genuine. I see the outcome – the strength and joy God gives her because of her faithfulness.

******************************** 

Hope is just one of the Lord’s mercies.  And God gives it freely to those who seek Him.

Do you want to know more about God’s mercies? And how you can find hope for your life and your circumstances? Do you want to know how to seek God? Please reach out using the CONTACT menu at the top of the page and let’s have a conversation, starting with your questions.

NOTE: “The Lord’s mercies are new every morning” is a paraphrase from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, Chapter 3, verses 22-23.