Tag Archives: consequence

Where is Your Hope? (Reflection for 9/17)

“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope”
-Lamentations 3:21

ROTD: Just because you can’t see God doesn’t mean He isn’t there.

Why?

Life can beat the absolute crap out of us. Sometimes it’s due to choices we have made, and sometimes it’s out of our control, and sometimes it’s both. This is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible, because it deals with just that. The first half (v.1-20) are basically this man crying out because of all the pain and affliction he has faced in life. And there is no correction of his thought. He cries out, “God, why? Why is all of this stuff happening to me? Why do you seem so set against me, so far away? Where are you?” Don’t we do that as well? When we don’t see where life is headed, or when we can’t possibly comprehend how God could be at work in our situation, we get down. Frustrated. Angry. Bitter. Depressed.

Then, the turning point.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…”

What words.
You see, we get so caught up in the before-the woe is me, life sucks, when will this end way of thinking-that we seem to forget all that we know about God. Listen to what the speaker recalls.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The speaker then goes on to describe the goodness of the Lord-how compassionate he is, how His justice is true, how He DOES hear our cries and see our tears. How, even in the midst of suffering, He is eternally merciful, he responds to our anguish.

We need to stop polarizing God-forgetting the good in the bad times, and the righteousness in the good times. But specifically, when things are hard and life has us beaten down, we need to call all these things to mind. Just because life is dark around you, and you can’t see God moving, doesn’t mean He’s gone. He’s always right there. So have hope.

Prayer

God, we pray that you help us to remember who You are at all times-good and bad. God, we know that sometimes life gets out of control, and you feel very far away. Help us to pursue You even then, even more. We need you, Lord, always. Show us Your goodness, God. We won’t let go until You do. Teach us to be patient in tribulation and to have joy amidst the pains of life. We love You, and we thank You for being who You are.
In Jesus’ holy name, Amen. 

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Why Don’t Our Hearts Cry? (Reflection for 9/15)

” Look, O Lord, 
For I am in distress; my stomach churns;
my heart is wrung within me,
because I have been very rebellious.
In the street the sword bereaves; i
n the house it is like death”
-Lamentations 1:20

ROTD:

Falling down in life must be followed by falling to our knees.

WHY?
In this day and age, it is a rare thing for people to be willing to take responsibility when things go wrong in life. This isn’t to say that things DON’T happen that are outside of our control, but we like to think that everything is outside of our control. We are just helpless victims of circumstance, we were born this way, we can’t help it. And what this kind of attitude creates is equal parts apathetic, attention seeking, and aggressive. We don’t care about our own end in our walk in life with God. When things go wrong, it’s always because of some other source other than ourselves. We sound like Jerusalem in the beginnings of this book. “Look at me, look at me, and see what the Lord has done to me, I have nothing!” is the cry of the desolate city for the first two chapters. We seek pity and comfort from those around us-that surely, these things aren’t MY fault, that life is just cruel and hard and it’s just best to live for myself and do what makes ME happy. Then, when we have those few people who are willing to call us out on some things we need to change, we become very aggressive, defending our “goodness” and that the other person is just hateful, or wrong, or both.

Where are the heart cries? The late nights, the yelling and pleading and earnestly seeking some answer as to what’s going on? Because even with all of her lamenting, Jerusalem says one recurring theme that is correct; “I have been very rebellious (v. 20)”and again, “The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against His word; (v. 18)”.

Even though she still is seeking comfort, Jerusalem gets it. She brought this fall upon herself, and now she cries out to God to hear her in the midst of a horrible time in life. That is a place we need to get back to. That, when we fall down, and our choices lead to some pretty heavy consequences, that we don’t try to rationalize it or ignore it or blame others. We cry out. We tell God, truly, how we feel. And we admit our need for Him. We admit that we are messed up, torn apart, desolate, ravaged by the choices we have made, and cry out.

Again, this isn’t to say that every time we mess up, God is striking us down. Or that every bad situation is tied to something we did or thought or said. But when we sin, sometimes we do experience consequence to that sin. Instead of running from it, we need to own up to it and continually be leaning into our Lord.

Prayer:

God, bring me to a place where my heart cries out for you. Break me down if need be, but help me to see my eternal need for You and You alone. Help me not to put blame elsewhere for the consequences of my sinful actions, but to see and admit that I have rebelled against You. Teach me, keep me, and help me to learn how to pray. 
In Jesus’ name, Amen.