WEEK 6: Energising Faith and Sustaining Hope – Lamentations 3
In Lamentations 1, a reporter details Lady Zion’s plight. In Lamentations 2, he draws close and sees her pain. In Lamentations 3, a ‘man who has seen affliction’ (v. 1a) speaks to an assembly of Judah’s remnant. The ‘man’ (Hebrew geber = a strong or valiant man) may or may not be the reporter of Lamentations 1 and 2, although it is traditionally accepted that he is the same person (i.e. possibly the prophet Jeremiah).
The valiant man commences his address with his own testimony, thereby establishing that he understands the remnant’s suffering for he has suffered too, as one of them. As a survivor, he hopes to convince the remnant that he is worthy of their trust so that they will ‘accept the benefit of his experience and move forward with him’.
Recall a time when you endured terrible anxiety, fear, pain, grief or trauma. Do you think your experience might be of benefit to you when you find yourself ministering to someone struggling in a similar trial and/or with similar emotions? How might such a ministry redeem and sanctify your own suffering?
The valiant man confesses that every memory of his affliction is painful and toxic. As he is constantly remembering, he is continuously hurting (vv. 19–20). To sustain hope, he reminds himself (v. 21) of a truth: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness (vv. 22–23).” It is precisely because this LORD is His LORD, that the suffering man has reason for hope (v. 24).
The phrase ‘But this I call to mind’ (v. 21) suggests that the valiant man is deliberately enacting a strategy of remembering for the purpose of energising his faith and sustaining hope.
Is your memory bank full of Biblical knowledge and practical experience of the LORD’s steadfast love, endless mercy and great faithfulness – accessible memories you could draw on/call to mind to energise your faith and sustain hope amidst testing times?
(To be continued next week…)
Elizabeth Kendal is a dedicated international religious liberty analyst and advocate. Elizabeth maintains two blogs: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) to facilitate strategic mission, aid, advocacy and prayer; and Religious Liberty Monitoring (providing additional news and analysis).