I tiptoe downstairs, hoping to pass the kids’ rooms without waking anyone. I open the backdoor and let the dogs into the backyard, hoping they won’t bark in their excitement and rouse anyone from their slumber. I steep a cup of hot tea and sit down with my Bible, hoping to read a few words of encouragement to start the day. I’m reading through the Old Testament with Team 365, and these are the first words I read:
“The Lord in his anger has cast a dark shadow over beautiful Jerusalem.”
~ Lamentations 2:1
What a way to start the day! And it doesn’t stop there. The scene that’s described tears at the heart. It reads like something out of a tragic movie.
But it’s not a movie script. It’s real. The mothers and the children. They were real people. They had names. They had friends. They had dreams.
I continue reading. First one page. Then another. The wrath of darkness continues.
My kids wake up and I hear them tinkering in the kitchen, reaching for bowls and spoons. So I cover my ears with headphones and tune in to some soft instrumental music so I can tune out the background noise.
Here I am, reading of God’s horrific wrath and destruction upon Jerusalem and its people, and I seek my own comfort. But maybe I shouldn’t be so comfortable when I read of such pain and suffering. Maybe I shouldn’t be so distant — in heart and mind — from the historical reality of Jerusalem’s fall.
“Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets.”
~ Lamentations 2:11
These images sear my mind. I’ve seen them before. Not in the pages of history, but today, on the news. Children around the world are dying — while my kids argue over who should get the last bowl of frosted flakes.
“He shot his arrows deep into my heart.”
~ Lamentations 3:13
Lord, help me. What can I do?
I turn the page. And I can hardly believe the following words:
“Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.”
~ Lamentations 3:23
Yes, this verse I know. I hear it often: The Lord’s mercies are new every day. And yet, as often as I hear this verse quoted, I never hear anyone mention the fainting children and dying babies just a chapter before.
How can the writer of Lamentations describe such horror and still look to the heavens and declare the Lord faithful and merciful?
I lower my head in wonder as the soft melody seeps into my listening ears.
A song without words, quietly permeating my soul, gives me the answer as I remember the song’s title: A Day Without Rain.
The Lord is faithful and good and merciful because the sorrow and suffering of this world will not last. A new day is coming. A day without rain.
Do you have a favorite verse that brings hope and comfort?