Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone in silence
when it is laid on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust—
there may yet be hope;
let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
and let him be filled with insults.
For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not afflict from his heart
or grieve the children of men. Lamentations 3:19-33 ESV
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? . . . For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:5b-7, 11 ESV
When Hellen Keller was a little girl less than two years old, she became sick with a high fever. When she had recovered from her illness, she was blind and deaf. She became a very wild and uncontrolled child. Her parents didn’t discipline her or correct her behavior, and she had tantrums when she was unhappy, kicking and screaming. Her parents didn’t think there was any hope for her to be able to communicate or become educated, and since they had almost no hope, they didn’t try to change her behavior. But then they got a teacher for Helen, a woman named Anne Sullivan. Anne taught Helen to communicate by using sign language that she could feel in her hands. But before Anne could teach Helen, she needed to discipline her. Helen needed to learn to behave so that she could learn to communicate and become educated.
As Jeremiah continued his long lament over the fall of Jerusalem, he changed his focus from God’s severe judgment on his people to talk about the love of the Lord that never comes to an end, and about his mercy for his people. Even though terrible things had happened to them, Jeremiah said that there might still be hope. He thought about the young people who were going through these difficult times, and he compared their grief to God’s discipline. Jeremiah said that the Lord didn’t enjoy causing them sorrow, and that God wouldn’t cast them off forever. Their sadness was like discipline from God, who would use it to bring his people back to him and teach them to respect his laws and to trust in him.
We all go through difficult times because we live in a sin-sick world, and even though the Lord can work through these times to discipline us and bring us closer to him, we often get angry and rebellious against God in our troubles. But God sent Jesus, who didn’t rebel against his Heavenly Father’s purpose. Jesus gave his cheeks to the people who slapped him and didn’t answer when they insulted him. He did this to show God’s love and mercy to us. Because of what Jesus did, all of our sins are forgiven and he calls us his children. His love and mercy to us will never cease, no matter what happens.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the love an mercy you show us in Jesus. Help us to come closer to you when we have trouble and sadness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.