This is a picture taken several years ago of the sun coming up over the Indian Mound in Nacoochee Valley as you make your way into Helen, Ga. This picture takes me back to one of my favorite Bible passages, Lamentations 3:22-26. It always brings encouragement to my heart.
That may seem strange seeing that Lamentations is a book, well about lamenting over a tragedy, trouble or a trial and the sufferings that come from it. It is true, this book is Jeremiah pouring his heart out over the destruction of Jerusalem. But, right in the middle, he begins to see a glimmer of hope and he shares it with us.
Look at his words and you will see why these verses mean so much to me!
“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore, will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”
I need this reminder today as my heart is heavy over my own personal trials, at the same time I am hurting for all of the people I know and love who are sick, fearful, or facing trials. Looking at that sunrise coming through that valley reminds me that in my valleys, God is there, and His word is still true. I needed to hear God speak to my heart from His word – It Is A New Day!
I must believe others need to be reminded of this promise as well. These are difficult days and have been for over a year now. COVID-19 Pandemic with all its restrictions and protocol, the virus itself and those who have been sick and even some who have passed from it, the political upheaval, not to mention the division in our country.
This on top of how these things have hit you personally. Many of you have had Covid 19 or are fearful of getting it. You may have watched others suffer with it or even pass away. Plus, there is the unknown future that causes fear. Then, walking through personal times of trouble and trials and just trying to make through the day.
When times like this come, our faith is tested to the core and we begin to wonder where God is at in all of this. You may have feelings of being distant, angry, and hurt at Him. It is not easy. Bottom line, it is hard. Even in this very chapter, Jeremiah lays out his pain, his despair, and his questions and yes his doubts.
It is these moments I am reminded of a truth God has been trying to teach me (I say trying, because I am still learning) over the last year. I must constantly apply this truth – I go back to what I know to be TRUE about God, not what I am FEELING about God at this moment.
This does not mean that I am wrong in feeling anger, hurt, and frustration or even to question. Many of God’s choices servants in the Bible and all through history have had these same feelings at one point or another. God can take it; he knows we are human beings, and He loves us through it.
But once we catch our spiritual breath, we must choose to come back to what we know to be true about God and not what we are feeling about God. Because feelings are fleeting but truth is foundational.
It was the truth about God that brought a glimmer of hope for Jeremiah. That in all the ruble of a broken city and honestly a broken heart, God reminded him that each day is a New Day and with it, God has provided what we need for each day.
This is not based upon our circumstances or even our emotions. It is based on the truth that God is God, and He will do what He says He will do not matter what is happening in us or around us. And above all, He loves us and longs for us to know His love and the depths He goes to for us to know Him and love Him and feel His love for us.
Jeremiah lays it out for us to see and then to respond. Let the word of God wash over you as you realize what we have in God alone!
- His Mercies are New Every Morning. Mercy in simple terms is God not giving us what we do deserve. It is God showing His loving kindness toward us when we deserve justice. It is His compassion toward us. And every day when that sun comes up, there is a fresh mercy. It is like some who used to have a milk man who came every day to their house. At night, they would put the empty glass bottles out on the porch, nothing left in them, all gone. Then, when the morning came, there would be a fresh supply, more than enough. I see God’s mercy the same way. We may come to the end of a day empty, spent and with nothing left to give or go. But when the sun comes up in the morning, God has placed a fresh supply of mercy to meet us at the point of our need!
- He is Faithful. Faithfulness speaks of being permanent, reliable, and stable. In other words, God is not going anywhere, and He is always with us. When everything around us seems to be crumbling or falling away, God is stable – He will never leave us alone. I may walk away, I may even step away, but God never moves. He is our rock.
- He is my portion. This is an older word that simply means the portion of my meal or even my inheritance. It speaks of what has been provided by another. In other words, God in being my portion will provide for me. He is all I need. He is sufficient for all my needs. Not my greed’s but my needs! Not just in food, clothes, and money, but this speaks of my emotional needs, my spiritual needs and for my soul. He is my provision!
- He is my hope. When the Bible speaks of hope it is not a fantasy of “I hope this works out or I hope this happens.” Biblical hope is a confident trust in God’s will, God’s word, and God’s ways. It is an expectation of who God is and what God can do. Jeremiah said it best – I will hope IN him!! Truth is we all need hope. It has well been said that a person can live 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, 3 minutes without oxygen, but not 3 seconds without hope. God, by His mercy and love, can give us that glimmer of hope.
With all this truth in front of us, there is still a role we must play in order for us to truly experience the hope of a new day. Jeremiah says in verses 25 and 26 that we must decide. We must make a choice to seek after the Lord and wait upon Him. These verses speak of two things we must do.
1) We must choose to seek Him. Nobody can or will force us to turn our hearts toward God, not even God Himself. He will present these truths; we must choose to cast our eyes upon Him. We must choose to take our eyes off the trouble and the trials and focus our eyes on Him and to go after Him with all of our hearts. Only then can these truths impact our souls like it did Jeremiah.
2) We must choose to rest in Him. Jeremiah uses the word to wait which speak of resting in Him and who He is. The word speaks of a being dependent on Him alone.
This is one of the great paradoxes of the Bible – we are to be seeking, striving, going hard after God but at the same time we are to be so dependent on His power and strength. Then I can be at total rest in Him. This again is not easy, but God will give us what we need to not only look to Him but to rest in Him.
Well, enough rambling. I pray that today, no matter what your week has been, your night may have been – remember this truth: today is a New Day!