Lamentations: Hope in the midst of despair

In the darkest moments of your life, when you think all hope is gone, have you experienced that tiny, tiny sense of hope from deep within? It is pitch black and you want to give up but you just don't, because of that single ray of light within. After you have overcome the situation and come out of the dark valley, you realise that it was that hope that sustained you and brought you out. Jerusalem is destroyed and deserted (1:6). She weeps bitterly in the night and nobody is there to comfort her (1:2). She remembers the days when she was queen, with all the splendor and riches (1:7) now all gone. She stretches out her hands to her friends but they turned their backs; they betrayed her (1:19). She is disgraced; she became a laughing-stock to everyone (3:14). Her children and infants faint in the streets, their lives ebb away in her arm (2:12) In this situation, she remembers the Lord's love. This she recalls and hope rises in her heart (3:21). The Lord is compassionate and He won't cast her off forever (3:31). The Lord disciplines those He loves, he restores them. His faithfulness is new every morning. The above description sounds personal and individualistic. However, the book of Lamentations talks about a community- a nation who disobeyed God and is totally destroyed and sent to exile in Babylon. The book is a mixture of despair and hope. In this desperate situation, the author calls the people to examine their ways and test them. he calls them to return to the Lord in repentance (3:40-42). Looking beyond the personal, there are many things in this world that makes us to despair: depletion of natural resources and the increasing population, climate change and possible mass migration of people, recession and fear of depression, violence and political instability, 'social ill-being' etc. What should we do as Christians and what motivates us to do the things we do? "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope"



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