The book of Lamentations is not the usual go-to book when we think of encouragement. Lamentations is written by Jeremiah and features the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Jeremiah begins by depicting Jerusalem as a widow in mourning. ”She weeps bitterly in the night, her tears are on her cheeks …“. He laments her desolate circumstances and the captivity of the people. They are very sad circumstances and stir the emotions of loss and despair.
What is fascinating is Jeremiah’s relationship with God in all of this. In the midst of his vivid description of slaughter and mayhem, he suddenly interjects into the discussion the hope he has seen in God’s faithfulness. It is almost out of left field in this discussion but obviously very close to the surface in Jeremiah’s mind. “…Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3:23-24).
In the midst of the gloomiest of times, if we recall God’s faithfulness (and there are many examples in His word), we can find hope.
To “hope” and to “wait” are bound up in the root word qawa – to wait or look up with eager expectation, to hope. This hope is incorporated into waiting – not the immediate present. There was nothing that Jeremiah was portraying about Jerusalem at that moment that would have provoked hope. However, Jeremiah knew that with God there is a timeless faithfulness. “For surely there is a hereafter [latter end], and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18).
Jeremiah encourages quietly waiting for God’s salvation. “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:25-26). This is a saving act by God.
King David had the ability to hope and wait, knowing there would be redemption. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord … O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption” (Psalm 130:5-7).
In these latter days we are going to need to hope and wait quietly in the Lord.