Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart!
My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry. Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment. How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? Jeremiah 4: 19-21.
That was a lament. I have never found the laments written in the Bible as my favorite sections to read. It is easy to understand them as complaints about what is happening. I usually fail to read the words within the context of the section where they are found.
Last weekend pushed me to seek out the definition of lament. I found “a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.” So far 2019 has been full of difficult situations and tensions which leave me wondering about the plan God has in store. And then to add to it, my wife and I were driving to visit my mother last Saturday. Our car was hit by a driver who went through a red light. We were not hurt, but the driver’s door is pushed in beyond repair.
The words from Jeremiah above describe my feelings perfectly. Disaster follows disaster. Things are just piling up with seemingly no end. When my wife and I read those words from the Bible a few nights ago, I latched on to them and added, “God, what are you doing?” Is this a punishment? Is it a wake up call? Are these just a result of living in a sinful world?
It wasn’t too long before I realized my thoughts, my lament, was on the wrong path. The lament given by God through the prophet Jeremiah expressed sorrow. I turned it into blaming God. Jeremiah was expressing sorrow over the sinful paths that Israel was following. I was expressing a distrust of God because of my lack of understanding of God’s love and plan for my life.
I do countless things in my life that make no sense. But whenever I find myself at the place where I am wrestling with God as to the path of my life, I feel foolish–and weak in faith. He sent his Son to die for all of my sins and gave me the forgiveness completely for free.
He protects me and my family despite all the sins I still commit. God continues to love me because of who he is and not because I have earned even one milli-ounce. (OK not a word but you get the sense) And that God, the only true God that exists, I want to mistrust and complain about?
Jesus described my problem perfectly in the Sermon on the Mount when he talks about life foundations: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on bedrock. The rain came down, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was founded on bedrock. Everyone who hears these words of mine but does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—it was completely destroyed.”
When I step off the bedrock of the promises of God and choose rather the baseless support of my own knowledge, I will fail. More importantly, I tell God in no uncertain terms he cannot handle this. I am wiser and have a better plan than his. Of that I need to repent.
Dear Lord, I know all things are in your hands. Your plans are always for my good. Forgive my impatience and distrust. And I thank you for how you will all work this out – to your glory and my good.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will come back. I will wait you.
The song below is one which reminds me to always stand on the strong foundation of God’s promises. The lyrics are printed below the video.
“The Promises” words and music by Anthony Lancaster
Guard your heart Tether your mind Build your house on the Rock it’s time to
Leave the sand Ready to stand with Christ On the promises
Verse 1 (leader):
Sky’s turning grey, and all that’s on the beach will wash away If we noticed the lightning,
we might be afraid Time won’t afford our lives to stay as gilded as they were After all that we’ve wasted For real-estate on the shore Headed for disaster, dressed in a flashy outfit we’ve got to change it up
Choose solid ground For when the storm arrives to sort you out You can handle the grief in Belief or in doubt And in this unknown The Spirit calls your name with wordless groans Pointing to a foundation, A well-tested Stone To witness unfolding infinite wisdom Shielding His children in the wind
Christ is the end, and Christ, the beginning
Christ all around me keeps my hope secure
By the Word of Christ, I will live by faith ‘til the promised King’s return