Hope in Times of Suffering (Part 1)

light breaking throught the clouds

On Lamentations

The book is called “Lamentations” because it expresses the people’s laments over the capture and destruction of Jerusalem. It was written to help God’s people—including the author himself—cope with loss and the temptation to despair by reminding them of God’s presence and rule.

Suffering is a significant time in any person’s life. Suffering acts as a check on our hopes. It refines them, maybe changes them. Suffering will either harden us or make us more pliable in God’s hands.

Jerusalem’s Sorrows and Sufferings

Why are the people of Jerusalem suffering? Why are they mocked? Why have they fallen into the hands of the enemy? It is because they have sinned greatly! (Lam. 1:8). Jerusalem was indifferent to its covenant responsibility to reflect the holiness of God in their daily living.

Suffering will either harden us
or make us more pliable in God’s hands.

Jerusalem’s fall was great. In the book of Lamentations, we read that the Lord had reduced them to practically nothing, without their freedom and their city.

Jerusalem’s devastating fall seemed to have brought the need to cry out to God for relief from suffering and from the mockery of enemies.

How should we respond in times of suffering?

When suffering comes, we should confess our sins to God. We are called to humble ourselves before Him. If we assess ourselves before a holy God, what do you think should we receive? Death, suffering, and punishment, because we are sinners before Him! But does God deal with our sins in accordance to His justice? No, He deals with us mercifully.

God clearly uses suffering in the book of Lamentations to instruct His people. God humbles them to wait patiently on Him.

In his last years, the London Puritan pastor William Gouge’s health gradually became worse. Yet even amid his most violent fevers or fits, Gouge would respond, “Well, yet in all these, there is nothing of hell, or of God’s wrath.” His biographer recounts:

“His sufferings were never so deep, but he could see the bottom of them and say,“Soul, be silent: soul, be patient. It is thy God and Father who thus ordereth thy condition…Thou hast deserved much more... He will turn it to thy good, and at length put an end to all: None of which things can be expected in hell.”’

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