Lamentations 3:21-23 has always been in my Top Ten Favorite scripture passages.
When I read this chapter yesterday in my Daily reading... I heard Jeremiah speaking to me directly! For the first time, I realized just how amazing these three verses are, when you understand the full setting of the entire passage.
Jeremiah laments for 20 verses about his present situation.
He is experiencing horrid affliction; he is in a very dark place at this point in his life spiritually and physically.
He believes that God's hand has turned against him; he has multiple broken bones; he's been walled in by bitterness, pain and sorrow as well as literal stone walls; he feels like everyone has ganged up on him - including God; he's bound with heavy chains and shackles; God has obviously shut out his cries and prayers - literally locked him up and thrown away the key; he feels like he's been tracked down and attacked- by God! Like a bear or a lion - he's been mauled and ripped apart; God even used him for target practice - shot him in the belly and left him for dead. Those around him who have watched his demise - have used him for a laughing stock and shoved rotten food down his throat; he feels as if God has taken his face and ground it into the gravel and pounded him into the mud!
At this point - Jeremiah is ready to give up on life. He has forgotten anything good that life has to offer... even decides that GOD is a lost cause. In this pit he is in -he has nothing but time - so his mind just plays everything over and over day and night.
He remembers all of the trouble - the desperate feeling of being completely abandoned. He relives every pain and tragic loss; he remembers the taste of ashes in his mouth and the bitter poison he swallowed... he remembers hitting rock bottom and giving up.
But in the middle of all of those memories - something he knows for sure about God's love and mercy pops up.
God's mercy never runs out. It never dries up. Because its fresh and new every morning. A glimmer of Hope quickens his spirit. And in the middle of the ashes, pain and desperation - he remembers how amazing God's grace and mercy is. He stops complaining and lamenting for a moment. He takes a detour off memory lane to reflect on God's faithfulness.
"GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS!" he exclaimed!
Wow! Jeremiah is talking to me and you today. I have not been able to get this scenario out of my mind for the past 36 hours... so I felt driven to write this down!
No matter where you are today; no matter how dark and hopeless your situation may seem; no matter how devastating, bitter and vivid the memories of your past; no matter how LONG it has been since you felt like God was listening to your prayers - let alone answering them... allow your mind to take a detour off of memory lane.
Force your memory to bring up God's goodness and mercy. Remember the night He whispered a promise in your ear? Remember the morning on your knees when He showed you a glimmer of His vision for your life?
You can believe again! You can HOPE again! His mercy endures forever!
How? How can His mercy endure forever? Because, a new batch is baked every night and is ready for us - fresh every morning!
I am aware that the "night" you are living in may be dark and cold and lonely. But NEW MERCY is in the oven right now! When the sun comes up - wonderful, FRESH mercy will be waiting on you!
"O, taste and see, that the Lord - He is good!" Psalms 34:8
O give thanks to the Lord of lords; for His MERCY endureth forever!" Psalms 136:3