“Yet I still dare to hope . . .” Lamentation 3:21
I want to dare you to hope! If Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations, can dare to hope so can we. Very few people can testify to being in a more hopeless situation than Jeremiah and yet he found hope in God.
Imagine what it must have been like for someone to be a survivor of the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11. The sheer trauma of that event coupled with the loss of friends and coworkers is almost beyond comprehension. In many ways, picturing the modern day impact of the 9/11 tragedy gives us insight into the trauma Jeremiah experienced as a survivor of the death and destruction that Babylonians wrecked upon Jerusalem in 586 BC.
The book of Lamentations is Jeremiah’s mournful recounting of the inexplicable grief associated with his firsthand experience of that horrific event. Lives were lost, major structures in the city including the wall and the temple were destroyed and daily life as usual ceased. To this day Lamentations is still read at the Western Wall, known as the “wailing wall” in the old city of Jerusalem. Is it any wonder that Jeremiah writes, “Everything I hoped for from the Lord is lost.” (Lamentations 3:18)
But, if you can identify with that, then you need to hear this. The amazing thing, just three verses later, we find Jeremiah daring to hope. “Yet I still dare to hope.” (Lamentations 3:21) How could that be?
He proceeds to tell us how. It is by calling to mind and remembering God’s faithfulness in the past. “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore I will hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)
What a powerful confession in the midst of a funeral dirge. “Therefore I will hope in Him!” Yes, hope floats! You cannot sink it. You may be at a point where it seems all hope is gone, and then miracle of miracles, hope pops up right out of the watery grave in front of you, like a bobber that has just momentarily been pulled under. That is what hope in God is like. Nothing can separate us from His love and nothing can rob us of our hope in Him. Hope is resurrected simply by recounting His faithfulness to us in the past.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done! (Johnson Oatman, Jr. 1897)