Good Grief before God

Lamentations 1:1 – 3:36

Lamentations 3 32 NIV sgl

The word lamentation is defined as “the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping.”  The book of Lamentations is appropriately named.  Jeremiah has witnessed profound calamity, and is overwhelmed with grief, which he is pouring out to God in the book of Lamentations.

 

Jeremiah is called “the weeping prophet” for good reason. Here are a few examples of verses that portray his grief…

1:16, “This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears.  No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit.”

2:11, “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed.

3:19-20, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.

 

Jeremiah is honest with his feelings, telling God how he feels – and he doesn’t mince words.

(I might mention here that I think this is an important part of the grieving process, not just for Jeremiah, but for us too.)

 

But even in the middle of his grieving, Jeremiah looked to God for comfort, too.  We see this in Lamentations 3:22-32…

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

31 For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.

32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.

 

I think Jeremiah gives us a good example to use when working through mourning and grief.  Honestly tell God how you’re feeling.  He already knows, so it’s not for His benefit.  Verbalizing our grief,  as well as literally crying out to God, actually helps us process our grief, and can help us work through it.

 

But even when overwhelmed with grief, it is also important to remember that God is compassionate and loving.  He will see us through.  Sometimes, it may feel like it’s hard to get through each new day, but the truth remains…

 

“Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.”

 

Despite this truth, we need to remember that the ultimate comfort will be in God’s kingdom, as we’re told in Revelation 21:3-4, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.’  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”


–Steve Mattison
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to here – Lamentations 1:1-3:36
Tomorrow we will read the rest of Lamentations – 3:37-5:22 – as we continue on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

Finally Home

 Revelation 21

Revelation 21 3 NIV

I was blessed to bring you this part of Revelation because this chapter means so much to me.
Go back to Revelation 21:3-4 and read it again. And again. And again. 
I don’t want you to read another sentence of this devotion until you dwell on the glorious truth of Revelation 21:3-4. 
 
 
God will be with us. 
 
That’s the goal. I don’t mean the goal of Revelation. The goal of EVERYTHING, everything collectively and every thing individually, is to be connected to the God who created it, who sustains it, who loves it. Everything God did was so that he could be among those who accepted him, so he could be their God. He would have every right to sit in the middle of the city, demanding we come and bow to him and confess our sins and honor and adore him without his speaking to us.
 
But the old order of things has passed. He comes to us. Instead of an unreachable, untouchable King far away and distant, He walks up to us.
 
He walks up to you
He walks up to me
and He wipes away our tears. 
 
 
Think of all the tears you’ve cried. I’ve cried so many. Relationships I’ve hurt. Trust I’ve broken. Loved ones who have been lost. Pain seen in the eyes of my wife and daughter. 
God will not remain distant. He will walk up to me, and he will say “My Son, the old

things are gone, the new have come. Cry no more.” God Himself, the creator of all things, will wipe away my tears.

Rev 21 4

God Himself will wipe away your tears.
God will be among us and be our God.

 

 
Everything else, the grand city, the streets of gold and the walls of precious stones, all these images of the glorified future, everything is icing on the cake. Without God it wouldn’t mean anything. Because God is there among us, it means everything.
 
My brothers and sisters, I can’t wait until your tears are wiped away. I can’t wait until the old is gone and the new has come.
May the Lord Jesus come quickly, prepare the way for his Father, and may God come and be our God. 
Jake Ballard
 
(Jake Ballard is Pastor at Timberland Bible Church in South Bend, IN. He lives in the Michiana Area with his wife and daughter. If you’d like to say hi you can find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jacob.ballard.336  You can also hear more teachings at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs_awyI1LyPZ4QEZVN7HqKQ Otherwise, he is available on all hailing frequencies, by using the Palantir, and via carrier pigeon, though it’s getting colder in South Bend. God bless you all!)

God Willing

Proverbs 16

Proverbs 16 3 4 NIV

Whenever I tucked him in, I would tell him I’d see him the next time I worked. He’d tell me, “God willing and the creek don’t rise!” He was about 80 years old, living in the nursing home where I worked. He had a lifetime of wisdom and colloquialisms.  I had not heard that phrase before meeting him but immediately appreciated the meaning.

Due to modern transportation infrastructure, rising creeks don’t ruin our plans as often as they used to. However, our lives, no matter how modern, are truly in God’s hands. Proverbs 16: 1, 3, 4, 9 and 33 specifically discuss the plans we make. No matter what we do and what we plan to do, God will ultimately guide these plans or even change them.

Verse 3 is a bit of a struggle for me. I’ve made plans I thought were for God, but they didn’t turn out the way I thought they should. They didn’t succeed, at least not in my mind. But in the very next verse it states that the LORD works out everything for His own ends. Sometimes I clearly see through hindsight how my failed plans served God.

But not every time, I’m still working through that. During a particularly hard time in my life, I defeatedly told my aunt that maybe I’d figure out WHY this all happened when I entered the kingdom. Her response was perfect. “And then it won’t matter.” WOW!!! What a gift! What a promise! Our dashed hopes and failed plans will fall away when we see Christ!!! Nothing else will matter!  Reading Revelation 21 makes me tear up with excitement!

In the meantime, God, through the proverbial writers, gives us instructions on the behaviors and plans that destroy (verses 4, 5, 18, 22, 25, 27-30) and the behaviors and plans that build up (verses 6, 8, 10-14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 32, and 32). Plan to build up others and glorify God!

One of the other reasons I appreciated and remembered “God willing and the creek don’t rise,” is because it reminds me of Dr. Joe Martin. Whenever he speaks of his plans, he adds, “God willing.” This is a sincere example of what trusting God with every area of life looks like.

I truly hope to see all of you at FUEL 2020.

God willing and the creek don’t rise!

Maria Knowlton