All her people groan
as they search for bread;
they trade their treasures for food
to revive their strength.
“Look, O Lord, and see,
for I am despised.”
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look and see
if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
which was brought upon me,
which the Lord inflicted
on the day of his fierce anger.
“For these things I weep;
my eyes flow with tears;
for a comforter is far from me,
one to revive my spirit;
my children are desolate,
for the enemy has prevailed.” Lamentations 1:11-12, 16 ESV
And those who passed by derided [Jesus], wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. Mark 15:29-32 ESV
Have you ever seen a bad accident by the side of a freeway? Sometimes you might see cars completely ruined, or people badly hurt. Sadly, sometimes people even die in car accidents. Traffic always slows down when there is an accident, even after the road is cleared. People slow down to look and see what happened. They might feel bad for the people in the accident, and they might even say a prayer for them. But then everyone on the freeway passes by and usually forgets about it fairly soon. They know that the people in the accident will get the help they need from the police and the emergency medics and tow trucks, and so the people who pass by will get on with their own business and lives. But for the ones who were involved in the accident, it can be hard to watch all the cars pass them by. Their own lives have just had a very serious upset, and everyone else is going on with their business as if nothing had happened.
When Jeremiah wrote his sad lament for Jerusalem, he cried out to people who were passing his country on the road to carry out their own business, “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?” He talked about how the few people left in the country were starving because there wasn’t much bread available, and they were spending all the money and treasure they had left just to get food so they wouldn’t die. Even the little children were starving. God’s judgment had fallen on the people, and Jeremiah said that there couldn’t be any greater sorrow in the world than that. The Lord seemed to be very far away, and not near them to comfort them in their trouble.
God didn’t pass us by in our trouble when we were under the judgment of sin and death. He came to us in Jesus, and Jesus took our sin on himself and died on the cross for us. When Jesus was dying, people passed by the scene. Many of them didn’t understand what was happening. Some of the people who passed by made fun of Jesus, because seeing him on the cross didn’t mean anything to them. They didn’t realize that Jesus was dying to take God’s judgment away from them. But because of what Jesus did, we can be sure that God is never far away from us in our troubles. He is always near us to help us and give us comfort, no matter what happens.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being close to us in our troubles, and for comforting and helping us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.