Lamentations 1:20

20 “See, LORD, how distressed I am!
I am in torment within,
and in my heart I am disturbed,
for I have been most rebellious.
Outside, the sword bereaves;
inside, there is only death.

Something happens in our life that steals our light, we lose hope, and the strength to keep pressing forward fails us. We are distressed, tormented, our hearts ache and we are deeply saddened by something that has happened in our life. We are at our ropes end and we ask ourselves, “Why Me?” This world is broken and so are we. Not everything in life is perfect. Relationships and marriages fail, friendships end, people die everyday around us, and people are suffering all around the world. Some closer than we think.   One of the challenges of living in a broken world is that the rug can be pulled out from under us in a second and our worlds can inevitably fall apart around us within a moments notice. The good news is there is comfort in God’s healing.  As the book of Lamentations opens, we can learn to rebuild our lives by studying Jeremiah’s cries to God.

In Lamentations 3:1-10, Jeremiah suffered through the exile of his nation.  

 I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of the LORD’s wrath.
2 He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;
3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.

4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged me and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.
6 He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.
8 Even when I call out or cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer.
9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked.

10 Like a bear lying in wait,
like a lion in hiding,

In the above verses Jeremiah uses the terms affliction, darkness, crooked, broken, and bitterness to describe his experiences. There have been times in our life where we can relate to Jeremiah and his pain. We’ve been afflicted, broken, bitter, and our paths have been crooked by our experiences and the challenges we face in our daily life.  

It is unhealthy to keep our feelings and frustrations bottled inside. We must UNLOAD ALL OF OUR FRUSTRATIONS ON GOD. God is waiting for us to unload on Him and to TRUST Him. Our emotional and mental selves need to allow God inside our hearts and we need to learn to communicate our feelings to Him. When we keep our feelings and frustrations bottled  inside, it increases the hurt and pain we feel and allows our hearts to remain troubled. If we do not learn to unload all of our frustrations on God, our spirits will remain depressed when we constantly live inside our pain.

Second, we must TURN OUR FOCUS FROM PAIN TO GOD’s LOVE

Lamentations 3:19-26

 19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,

the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,

to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

In the above verses, Jeremiah’s hope in God returns. He begins to focus on what is left and not what is lost. This is significant for us if we truly want to learn the power of letting go and focus on the present. We must learn to focus on the things we have, not the things that are no longer in our life. If we continue living in the past and not allowing ourselves to move forward and focus on the present, we will remain stuck and we’ll never truly heal. The benefits of remembering God’s unfailing love and mercy is to understand that regardless of whatever happens in our life, God isalways there. God’s love and compassion never fails us. If we place our faith and hope solely in Him, and SEEK Him, we will find the strength to rebuild our lives and be stronger than ever before.

Lamentations 3:31-33

 31 For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.

God’s love for us is sure and strong. No one in this life is cast off by God forever and though there are times in life when He brings us grief, we will always have His love and compassion. God never willingly brings affliction or grief to any one and while it hurts now, it won’t last forever. When we magnify all that God has done and continues to do for us, we will remember His love through our creation, His redemption, and eternal life in Heaven. We can acknowledge God’s presence in our friendships, relationships, marriages, and other life situations by living in His image, embracing others in their pain and being there for others who are suffering like we are, and  reevaluating our life an the things we need to change to be better believers and followers of Christ.

Lamentations 3:28-29

28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.

When life seems too heavy and hard to bear, we must sit alone in silence with God. We must GET ALONE WITH GOD AND WAIT!  We can wait for God by going into a quiet and secluded place and PRAY.

Matthew 6:6

 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

The advantages of sitting in seclusion and silence with God in prayer can allow us to bear it all and relieve us from our pain. When we speak in silence with God in prayer our focus shifts from ourselves to God and we begin to sense His grace.  It is difficult to wait on God when we want our prayers answered now, but it’s imperative that we wait.

Lamentations 3:25-26

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

God isn’t on our schedule. God’s timing is never early and it’s never late. It is important for us to have experience with God and to learn from other’s experiences who know God. Through others we can help build each other up in our pain. We are not in this world alone and we should not have to rely on ourselves to get us through life and acknowledge our need of God only in times of crisis.The key to crisis control is Christ-Control

Lamentations 3:40

40 Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD.

Self-evaluation is hard when we feel we aren’t at fault for the things that have gone wrong in our life. It is easier to blame others for the hardships we face in life than to turn our attention towards ourselves and focus on the things we need to change. There are things in this life we cannot change, but we can CHANGE THE THINGS WE CAN.  Living in denial and refusing to change the things we can (the things we can control) can prevent us from turning to God to change the picture we have painted of ourselves. We need to face the fact that we are imperfect and there is a reason we remain in the situations we do. Being faithful is to face the facts about ourselves and our situations without being discouraged. Obviously there is a reason why things in our life happen, the question is, how do we deal with it? What areas in our life do we need to change so we can be better and stronger?

Do we live the way God wants us to? If not, we need to sit down with ourselves and make a list of the things we should keep doing, the things we should stop doing, and the things we need to do differently. We need to apply this to our life everyday so we can feel God move in our life and what He will do when we put forth the effort to live in His image.

Being at peace in this life requires that we accept the things in life that we cannot change and trusting God will be faithful to keep His promises. We must get alone with Him, be still, and wait in patience to hear from Him.

Lamentations 3:53-57

53 They tried to end my life in a pit
and threw stones at me;
54 the waters closed over my head,
and I thought I was about to perish.

55 I called on your name, LORD,
from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
to my cry for relief.”
57 You came near when I called you,
and you said, “Do not fear.”

When we are in the dark pit of life that we can’t seem to get ourselves out of, we must call upon God. When our worlds fall apart, we feel empty and the sorrow in our hearts deepens. When we are in the depths of the pit, we mustASK GOD TO RELIEVE OUR FEARS.  We should never fear the power of God’s love and how His love can heal. Through the TRUTH of His Word, His LOVE, and our FAITH, we can learn to replace our fears and rebuild our lives.

Lamentations 5:21

21 Restore us to yourself, LORD, that we may return;
renew our days as of old

In Lamentations 5:21, Jeremiah asks God for restoration. When we are hurting, we must EXPECT GOD TO RESTORE OUR LIFE.  As we reflect on our life and the areas that we need to change, it is important to know that we are not alone. We must hand our pains, stresses, and challenges over to God and allow HIM to do the work He is willing and ready to do. God is willing to work His miracles in our life if we allow Him to. We have to stop resisting and allow Him to help.

We must pray to Him and ask Him to be the strength in our life. Ask him to help us slow down and take the time to focus on Him and make Him a priority this week and for the rest of our life. To help us start rebuilding our life around His TRUTH, His LOVE, and our FAITH so we can be released from our fears and worries that we struggle daily with. We must believe that He can and wants to help us make it through the hard times we experience.  Ask God to help us focus on what is left in our life, not what is lost. Most importantly, to help us remember that God is control, that He loves us, and He is all we need.

At the end of your rope
Hanging by a thread
He’d give anything for this to just go away
This grip is only so strong

I try to hold on tightly
But it’s all slipping through my fingers
In a fleeting moment
Aspirations bled dry
Eyes that once beamed with hope now only stare in remorse

Even through this pain
I will feel again
Even through these tears
I will love again