My joy is gone; grief is upon me;
my heart is sick within me.
Behold, the cry of the daughter of my people
from the length and breadth of the land:
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
Is her King not in her?”
“Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images
and with their foreign idols?”
“The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved.”
For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded;
I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me. Jeremiah 8:18-21 ESV
O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses;
you have been angry; oh, restore us.
You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open;
repair its breaches, for it totters.
You have made your people see hard things;
you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger.
You have set up a banner for those who fear you,
that they may flee to it from the bow.
That your beloved ones may be delivered,
give salvation by your right hand and answer us! Psalm 60:1-5 ESV
The Roman empire once stretched from England into Europe to the Euphrates River to the north coast of Africa, but over time it became weaker. Rome fell in 455 to the Visigoths, but in the years before that the imperial capital was sacked by the Vandals, who had moved through present-day Germany, France, and Spain, destroying as they went. A Christian scholar named Jerome lived in Rome, and he wrote about the horrible things that were happening to the Roman empire because of the Vandals. He wrote: “Nations innumerable and most savage have invaded all Gaul. . . . Oh wretched Empire! Mayence, formerly so noble a city, has been taken and ruined, and in the church many thousands of men have been massacred. . . . Aquitaine and the provinces of Lyons and Narbonne, all save a few towns, have been depopulated; and these the sword threatens without, while hunger ravages within. . . . Spain, even, is in daily terror lest it perish. . . . Our tears are dried by old age. . . . Who could believe that Rome, built upon the conquest of the whole world, would fall to the ground?”
Many years before that, Jeremiah mourned for his people of the southern kingdom of Judah. They were becoming weaker and weaker, and their end was near. People who were living through these terrible times were wondering where the Lord was, and why he wasn’t helping his people. They hoped that their king would keep them safe, but he didn’t seem to be able to. Time had gone by, summer and fall, while the people waited to be saved, but they weren’t saved. The time for judgment had come to Judah because they had worshiped false gods and made idols to bow down to instead of the Lord.
We sometimes live through difficult times, also. When we have troubles and hurts, we can cry out to God to save us and help us. We don’t deserve his help, because we’ve turned away from him in sin and rebellion, but God came to us in Jesus to take the terrible load of sin on himself. Because of Jesus, God forgives our sins, and he hears our cries for help and promises to help us in his best way. Sometimes God works through our problems to bring us closer to him and to pull us away from sins that are hurting us. We can’t always understand why things happen the way they do, but we can always be sure of God’s love, not because of anything we’ve done, but because of what Jesus has done for us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving us and for hearing our cries for help because of our Savior, Jesus. In His Name, Amen.