19Just thinking of my troubles
and my lonely wandering
makes me miserable.
20That’s all I ever think about,
and I am depressed.
21Then I remember something
that fills me with hope.
22The LORD’s kindness never fails!
If he had not been merciful,
we would have been destroyed.
23The LORD can always be trusted
to show mercy each morning.
24Deep in my heart I say,
“The LORD is all I need;
I can depend on him!”
25The LORD is kind to everyone
who trusts and obeys him.
26It is good to wait patiently
for the LORD to save us.
27When we are young,
it is good to struggle hard
28and to sit silently alone,
if this is what
the LORD intends.
29Being rubbed in the dirt
can teach us a lesson;
30we can also learn from insults
and hard knocks.
31The Lord won’t always reject us!
32He causes a lot of suffering,
but he also has pity
because of his great love.
33The Lord doesn’t enjoy
sending grief or pain.
The Book of Lamentations is a collection of poems lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. Mourning, sorrow and grief are poured out. This passage is one man’s response to the stark reality of desolation – being in the wilderness.
What today are we mourning – in the valley, in the wilderness?
Being caught up in our troubles can be so traumatic. Sometimes we just cannot face the pain and anguish, it is too much for us to bear.
Yet, at some point we need to be with it. To feel it. Until we do, it is always there – waiting.
The same is true of other things in our lives that we try to avoid – our fears, those things we know shouldn’t really be there. Until we take the time and space to face them, they always have the potential to leap out at us and trip us.
Jesus went into the wilderness to face his demons, to prepare his life. In facing his demons he knew what they were, and how he was going to live with them. If he had not done that they would always have been his Achilles heel, an opportunity for the devil to come at him and trip him up.
Facing the wilderness within us is painful. But at some point we have to do it.
If Lent is our opportunity to take time out to reflect, to spend some time in the wilderness, knowing that God is there, perhaps this is the time.
Thinking of our troubles, and wandering alone in the wilderness do make us miserable, but so much more does living with those things in our lives unchallenged. In that truth, hope returns:
“The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy continue”
Sweeping things under the carpet leaves a huge pile to fall over, facing it in the light and truth of God gives him the power over it all. Troubles in our life will still be there, but they are faced in the knowledge of them, and the love and mercy of God.
However desolate we feel, God’s love continues. He does not always lift us straight out of that place, but he is most definitely with us in it.
Who or what else is there to put our trust in?
Lord I bring to you
It sit with it
And I wait
as your unfailing love and mercy continue
and help me to live