It was one of the darkest times in the history of God’s people. Because of their shocking sinfulness they suffered untold horrors from the Babylonians especially during the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. In Lamentations (3:21-25), Jeremiah mourns over them, but he also shines four rays of light from the LORD upon them to brighten their future.
Hope is the first ray of light: “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope” (v. 21). Jeremiah brought a message of hope to the people. It was not a just the wishful thinking of a naïve optimist nor was it based on chance like that of the gambler. No, it was the LORD that he had in mind. His hope rested upon the LORD. Without Him there is no hope but with Him there is always hope.
Depression is a real and present danger, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are those who are shut in, others who have gotten sick and lost loved ones, some who have lost their jobs and businesses, so many changes that have brought an unusual amount of stress upon us all.
Recently, I have talked to several preachers that are battling depression. Elijah, the prophet, had a tremendous battle with depression that lasted many days (1 Kings 19). James reminds us that “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours” (James 5:17). Perhaps, we forget that we are all just human.
Ben’s wife, Stacie, had a terrible accident while riding her horse causing severe trauma to her brain and leaving her in a coma from which she never recovered. Ben was unable to visit her until just after her surgery and only for a short time. Ben posted an update on Facebook for family and friends. “She’s a fighter, and through God’s power and might she will wake up, if it is God’s will.”
In the morning, Ben was very appreciative of “everyone’s kind words and prayers”. That night there was little change in Stacie’s condition, but Ben wrote, “Thank you for all of the supportive texts and posts! We are so blessed to have so many people praying on our behalf. Philippians 4:6 is helping me get through these times. Please be patient and continue to pray for our dear Stacie.”
The coronavirus pandemic has brought many unsettling changes to our nation and the world. This has caused many to fall into panic, despair, fear, worry, stress and depression. They are unable to find any peace. But there are many places in the Bible where it can be found. One of those places is John 14-16. Here Jesus speaks to His apostles to prepare them for His death and departure from this world and to give them peace. We too may find peace in these words of Jesus.
There are a lot of things we do not understand about suffering. Many of our questions go unanswered but there are some things we can know.
We can know that God knows all about our suffering (Psalms 56:8).
We can know that God understands everything we are going through (Hebrews 4:15).
We can know that God truly cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135