In 2008 I wrote the following as our ten month old grandson Sully was in the midst of his heroic fight for life as his little body was afflicted by leukemia.
Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet of God, I highly respect, finding him to be a fellow sufferer with the suffering. God called him to a ministry that by man’s standards of judgment was a failure. His congregation, the nation of Judah, rejected his message and hated him. His life was threatened. He was thrown into a muddy cistern. He suffered the anguish and grief of the destruction of the nation (Judah) and city (Jerusalem) he loved. The weeping prophet he has been called.
As Jeremiah laments the destruction of Jerusalem he laments his own suffering. What draws me to Jeremiah is his faithfulness to the Lord’s calling in the midst of his suffering. I am also drawn to him because of his lament when he cries out to God. As I understand Lamentations 3, Jeremiah is laying his suffering at the feet of God. He complains. He accuses. God “has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long” (verse 3). “Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer” (verse 8). Read verses 12-20. His suffering is terribly painful. He complains to God. He blames God. Then he remembers and has hope. He remembers the love and faithfulness of God. “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” (verses 22-23). He waits on the Lord. His hope is in God.
I am drawn to Jeremiah and his words in Lamentations because they free me and you to cry out in our suffering. Yes, God accepts our struggles, our depression, our complaints, and shaking our fists at him. He patiently forbears with us. When we are finished, in the midst of the tears, we remember God’s love, compassion, and kindness in our lives. We remember his love so graciously given in Christ. In the midst of our tears we remember, and like the prophet, we turn again to our faith and wait on the Lord. In him we place our hope.