Remember my affliction and roaming,
The wormwood and the gall.
My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!” ~~ Lamentations 3:18-24 (NKJV)
There was a time in my life when I could have written these verses. The personal desolation of the first twenty-one verses of Chapter 3 in Lamentations describes the circumstances of the last two decades of my life. It began with the murder of a beloved family member and spiraled downward from there.
But when the grief would have overwhelmed me, could have swallowed me whole, the words of an old hymn built upon verses twenty-two and twenty-three seemed to rise up out of the middle of my spirit. The music and theology in that hymn buoyed my spirit to survive the waves of sorrow.
In 1972, Malcolm Smith published a book entitled Turn Your Back on the Problem. The premise was that as long as you focus on the problem you will be overwhelmed. But when you quit looking at the problem and start looking toward God, you see things in a different perspective.
No matter what the circumstances are, God is the faithful rock upon which we can build our hope. He is the source of all our strength. He deals mercifully with us.
And He starts again each morning as if it were the first morning of creation.
Great is His faithfulness.
Let us begin by being faithful to Him.
Grant us the wisdom and strength to keep our eyes upon You in every circumstance. Help us to focus our attention on Who You are, not on what is going on with us, within us, and around us.
In Jesus’ most precious name.