Last year has been frustrating for me. You know how I love walking, something which has been hampered as the tumour has grown with resulting effects becoming more pronounced. Trying to get in touch with the hospital has not done any good for my patience. Then to cap it all: I’m not sure whether my walking differently has contributed to it, but my back let me down just before Christmas and since then I’ve not been free of discomfort. A ’bear with a sore head’ comes to mind. Ask Hilary! I freely admit I’ve found it difficult at times to praise and thank God. People helpfully saying, ‘There’s always someone worse off than you’ doesn’t seem to help. What do we do when we are facing a situation like this?
My approach was to go to Scripture. Not to perhaps the expected passages in Job or Psalms, but in the Book of Lamentations. Why this particular book? Lamentations is Jeremiah’s lament over the city of Jerusalem. The first two chapters read like an obituary written by one who had proclaimed Gods judgement to an unrepentant people. We would think that he should have expected it. Jeremiah isn’t rejoicing as he voices his despair in chapter three. In fact, anything but. Instead of taking his warning seriously they had thought of him as a laughing stock. He felt like he had broken teeth and was trampled in the dust. It all makes my pathetic problems seem as nothing!
But then there is a shift in Jeremiahs thinking. “My splendour is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD. I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lam.3:18-23
Jeremiah gives himself a good talking to and gets things in right perspective. He says, “The LORD is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him. The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him. It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” Lam.3:24-26. I need to remember this when I’m feeling sorry for myself. And Paul’s words, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory that far outweighs them all.” 2Cor.4:16-17.
As we start a new year together, let’s thank God for His many mercies and blessings and trust Him for all that this year will bring.
Every blessing be yours in Christ Jesus
John & Hilary.