I’m originally from southern California, and after being gone for eight years, I’m so blessed and grateful to be back. The state is going through an awful drought, which apparently started in my absence (aren’t we always in a drought?), and being here has reminded me of two things:
1. We don’t realize how good our water tastes until we have been drinking notsogood water for a very long time. Yes, I do mean our tap water.
2. There is nothing like huge sip of cold water after being in the sun and heat.
Water already tastes good, but it tastes better and becomes more refreshing after laying out on the beach, inadvertently drinking seawater, finishing a workout, trying a food you don’t like, eating too many hot wings, etc.
It’s similar to the winters out in the Midwest and other areas of the country that cup of hot cocoa or coffee or tea (or literally anything hot) tastes that much better after being in the snow and freezing air. (Is winter even over for them yet? . . . the lows in my former town of Steubenville have been in the 30’s all week and even got to the 20’s one day. Did I mention I’m glad to be back?)
However, I will admit I like the water example better because I think it is a more full analogy for what we go through in our lives, oftentimes our spiritual lives. Water doesn’t just taste good, it is good. It is good for us and gives us life. Without it we cannot survive. It is an essential part to living a vibrant, healthy life, yet we still take it for granted.
I think this is one reason why God lets us go through hard times, trials, suffering. Sometimes they are big and incredibly difficult, and other times they are small and simply frustrating. But they are always reminders of how good God truly is, how essential our relationship with Him is for the health of our being.
In this section of Lamentations, I feel like the words are the revitalizing, refreshing water in the desert of this person’s suffering. After digging a little deeper into the first half of the book for the last several days, it is so encouraging to read, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end” (2122). We continue to read that it is good to wait for the Lord, to seek Him, to sit in silence and turn the other cheek. Why? Because the Lord will not cast us off forever! He will have compassion! He is full of steadfast love!
I think it’s also important to note that hope is a choice and a theological virtue. In the midst of all the complaining and suffering and blaming, we read, “. . . and therefore I have hope.” She calls to mind all of the goodness and love of God, and therefore has hope. Even in the midst of trial. And if hope is a theological virtue, it results from the grace of God but will also be tested at different times, just like our faith and our love.
Romans 5:35 can be used again here to highlight the importance of hope and God’s love for us.
So with the words of Lamentations, let us examine our ways and return to the Lord! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven (4041). What stands out to you from today’s section? Is there a particular verse or verses that give you refreshment, consolation? Are there areas in your life in which you are not choosing hope? How can you change that? What strikes you when reading the passage from Romans?