I’m somehow “stumbling” into stuff that speaks to where I am in my time of waiting. I was reading my Bible yesterday and I came across this amazing section of Lamentations:
For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly or grief the sons of men.
Many of us are familiar with Lamentations. Jeremiah, the prophet, writes this poem about the devastation of his people. Though once “great among the nations,” Judah is now in exile and Jeremiah is heartbroken about it. Jeremiah describes the loss of the people as a result of their sin. In the middle, however, he pauses and recalls the goodness of God:
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindness indeed never ceases, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.
Jeremiah recalls the goodness of his God, despite the fact that they are enduring a terrible exile. He knows that God’s plan is for good, because he knows that God is good.
I so often feel forgotten by God. Despite His promise that i don’t have to worry, i worry that the God who cares for the little birds has somehow forgotten His plan for me, as if He has decided to relent on His promise to care for me “even more than these.” Things have been so difficult as I wait on Him that I started to assume that He’s moved on to someone else. Elisabeth Elliot so eloquently describes this feeling:
When at times sorrow is heaped upon sorrow we cannot help wondering if this time God has forgotten us. We think of His promise that He will never allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to bear, and it seems that He has forgotten that promise, forgotten to be gracious. (p. 117).
I think we’ve all felt that way.
I can’t help wondering if it’s not that God has forgotten us as much as it is that we have forgotten God. If you read any story in the Bible you will continue to discover a God who is faithful, Who loves unconditionally, Who wants the best for His children, Whose heart breaks for us, Who is merciful, Who is full of grace beyond human comprehension.
Abraham was an old man before God fulfilled His promise to give Abraham as son. Joseph had to endure being sold to Egypt and going to jail before his dreams were realized. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were literally in the fire before God saved them. It may not have been according to any of their timing, but God always fulfills His promise at the appointed time.
is it that when we’re going through hard times that we’ve forgotten that it’s THIS GOD that we call ours?
One of my favorite hymns is “It is Well with My Soul.” I love the lyrics and the melody, but when I heard the story behind it, I started to truly felt the power of the words. Horatio Spafford was a successful attorney in Chicago, IL, but lost everything in the great Chicago fire of 1871. Nearly at the same time, he lost his four year-old son to scarlet fever. Two years later, he decides to take his wife and daughters to Europe. When business detained him in the States, he sent his wife and four daughters ahead. Tragically, the ship carrying his family collided with another ship and began to sink. Horatio, still in New York, received a telegraph from his wife: “Saved alone.” All of his daughters died in the accident. Upon his voyage to join his wife, Horatio was inspired to write the lyrics to the hymn:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way
When sorrows, like a billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
“It is well, It is well, with my soul.”
Despite what we may conclude from the circumstances or situation, it’s never that God has forgotten us. Our God is faithful. Many times, it’s that we have forgotten (or chosen not to believe) the character of our God. He is good and abundant with lovingkindness. This recall and have hope.