“Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24, HCSB)
I live in a slice of the US known as “tornado alley.” Back in 2013, my daughters and I drove over to help with cleanup after a fatal EF5 monster tore through Moore, Oklahoma. What we saw was surreal. A school leveled, neighborhoods turned to piles of debris, and flattened vehicles resting wherever they’d landed. Any structures that were still standing were marked with large spray-painted words such as “clear” or “we’re okay,” or, a simple letter “X.” The scene was heartbreaking.
I had seen destruction before—of another kind.
Our family moved overseas in 2003. I still treasure golden memories from that chapter. But in the span of seven years, a storm blew through, swallowing up a marriage and dear friendships. More than once I begged God to remove me from the storm and rip the painful pages from my story. I didn’t think I’d live to see the other side, and at times didn’t want to. Like a dense fog, the wake of devastation threatened my vision. I felt my faith shake. And felt marked by failure.
Maybe you’ve been there too. Or maybe you’re in that place now.
That season stung so deep. Yet it brought an intimacy with Jesus I’d not had before. I had known Him as Savior and Shepherd. But amidst the terrible storm, He became my Hope. He taught me to look through a different lens, beyond what I could see.
In the Book of Lamentations, we meet (most agree to be) Jeremiah in a season of misery. God had, for the good of His people, allowed events to unfold. Still though, it pained the prophet to see Jerusalem destroyed and its survivors carried to a foreign land. Like a tear-soaked tissue, the first twenty verses of chapter 3 drip with sorrow as he mourns what had happened around him and to him. (My imagination has me picturing our compassionate Father giving space for this lament, listening tenderly to His dear child’s crying, drawing him close as he wails.)
The words then take on a different tone and direction. “Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope:” Jeremiah utters. (Lamentations 3:21, HCSB) Small but mighty, is this word “yet.” His vision shifts and the fog lifts as he returns to what he knows God has done throughout history—throughout His story. Amidst the ashes, what he “calls to mind” reignites a flame within his weeping soul. What flows next are what many have found to be some of the most hope-filled of Holy-inspired pennings:
“Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24, HCSB)
The prophet’s thoughts land on Jehovah’s faithful track record. The LORD had proven to be enough throughout Israel’s perilous past, and He’d be enough in Jeremiah’s present, even amidst all the rubble and ruins. His recalling of God’s faithfulness feeds his faith, filling him with hope for each new day. And so it is, for you and me, more than two millennia later, in our own tempest-tossed times.
We cannot undo the storms of life. But, thanks be to God, we can be sure of His loving presence through them. If all else is lost, Jesus remains. Our God With Us God. Our Hope in the long haul, for all seasons.
About Jennye Bock
Jennye lives in Oklahoma with her fisherman husband, daughter, and a couple of furry four-legged friends. She has a passion for in-depth Bible study and enjoys traveling and capturing photos that tell a story. She writes to encourage others along in their faith journey.
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