Not consumed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
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." 
- Lamentations 3:21-24, ESV

I don't know one person (not me, not you) that hasn't been deeply affected by the pandemic. Some of you have lost jobs, loved ones, hope. All of us have lost any sense of normalcy. Over the weekend I found myself grieving little losses: a July 4th spent alone, a first real haircut for Lanie who had to wear a mask the entire time, a sparsely attended church service.

If anyone had reason to grieve, it was the writer of Lamentations. The wicked King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had laid siege to Jerusalem during this time (586 BC). No one inside the city walls could escape, and no food or supplies could make it in. The people trapped inside Jerusalem endured appalling conditions and the majority died - or if they lived through 30 months of this - were either massacred or taken captive by Babylonian soldiers when they finally broke through the wall. The atrocities outlined in the book of Lamentations make the pandemic feel like vacation. 

AND YET, the writer of Lamentations finds hope. Where? He writes, "Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed" (NIV). The Hebrew word for this type of love is hesed. It is a deeply committed love, a covenant love. It is not a "give and take" kind of love, but a "give and give and give" kind that can only find its source in God's unchanging character. 

We are not consumed, dear friends. Not in this pandemic. Not in this hostile political climate where it's hard to find what is true. Not even if we are staring death in the face. Because of the Lord's hesed love toward us, let us not grieve as those without hope (1 Thess. 4:13). Let us remember that God is rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4), and his mercies are new every morning.
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