What do you do when you are distraught? When the world around you comes crashing down and you can’t seem to find the light of day?
The author of Lamentations wrote his anxiety out for God—and everyone else—to see. Though some dispute exists, most scholars agree that the tears pour from the pen of the weeping prophet, Jeremiah. Burdened by the desperate plight of God’s people and the utter devastation they endured under captivity and exile, he cried aloud to the One who had allowed such stern discipline.
Lamentations reveals the art of honest heart communication with God. After all, Jeremiah could have been stoic. “I told you so,” would have been the response of most in his shoes. But Jeremiah’s heart cried like God’s. He loved his fellow Israelites and God, too. It pained him to the core to see her endless rebellion, but it also hurt his heart to watch God remove His glory from His people. They had lost their land, their freedom, their identity as one nation under the One true God, and it seemed as if all was lost. Through Jeremiah’s lamentations, we see what it means to weep over sin. To experience the depth of grief realized by our own foolish actions. What hope do any of us have if we are separated from the One who gives us meaning?
As Jeremiah walks through the stages of grief, naming his pain and questioning God’s goodness, he comes full circle. He remembers God’s faithfulness, and it restores his hope. God will not punish forever. In fact, He promised to restore His people, reconciling their relationship once more. They would see temporary relief in a matter of years, brought by foreign kings sensitive to God’s Spirit. But God’s chosen ones would also see eternal deliverance through Jesus Christ, the One who God sent to save His people forever.
When you walk through your next valley of sadness, remember Jeremiah’s mournful song. As he did, pour your heart out fully, honestly, before the One who listens and cares. He will not be scared away. Instead, He will draw you close with everlasting comfort. Though “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, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”