Topic: It’s Okay to Lament
Scripture: Lamentations 3:19–26
Key Verse: The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him. – Lamentations 3:25
Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 19–20; John 13:21–38
INSIGHT: When Jeremiah refers to “bitterness” and “gall” (Lamentations 3:19), bitterness is literally “wormwood,” a bitter-tasting plant, while gall is a poisonous plant that causes great pain if eaten. Together, the words function as a metaphor for great anguish, in this case attributed to God’s judgment (Jeremiah 9:15).
It’s the capacity to hope (Lamentations 3:21) that gives the prophet strength to endure. While today “hope” is often synonymous with an optimistic emotion, in the Old Testament both Hebrew words translated “hope” (yakhal and qavah) refer to waiting. In Lamentations 3:21, the word yakhal is used and is the same word translated “will wait for” in verse 24. Therefore, a posture of hope—waiting in expectation—isn’t based on an optimistic perspective on the current situation but on God’s character and faithfulness to bring about future restoration (see Psalm 39:7).
I dropped to my knees and let my tears fall to the floor. “God, why aren’t you taking care of me?” I cried. It was during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. I’d been laid-off for almost a month, and something had gone wrong with my unemployment application.
I hadn’t received any money yet, and the stimulus check the US government had promised hadn’t arrived. Deep down, I trusted that God would work out everything. I believed He truly loved me and would take care of me, but in that moment, I felt abandoned.
The book of Lamentations reminds us it’s okay to lament. The book was likely written during or soon after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 bc. It describes the affliction (3:1, 19), oppression (1:18), and starvation (2:20; 4:10) the people faced. Yet, in the middle of the book the author remembers why he could hope: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (3:22–23). Despite the devastation, the author remembered that God remains faithful.
Sometimes it feels impossible to believe that “the Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (v. 25), especially when we don’t see an end to our suffering. But we can cry out to Him, trust that He hears us, and that He’ll be faithful to see us through.
Our Daily Bread 3 June 2021 Today Devotional Message. Our Daily Bread Ministries (ODB) is a Christian organization founded by Dr. Martin De Haan in 1938. It is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with over 600 employees. It produces several devotional publications, including Our Daily Bread.