Finding Life within Lament: How the Bible’s Bitterest Book Breathes into Our Souls

Last week, our church’s Scripture schedule walked us through Lamentations, a killer of a book whose editors in today’s market would surely have chosen a different title!

Whatever the case, through this prophetic piece of piercing poetry we plodded.  (Use of alliteration: Check.)

Unbeknownst to the casual Bible reader, a famous excerpt of Scripture comes from Lamentations.  Chapter three, to be exact.  Recited or sung alone, these well-known words are inspiring and hopeful.  But found within their devastating context, they are nearly other-worldly.  In an exercise that often assists my Bible-reading efforts, here is my re-phrasing of Lamentations 3:19-33:

Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the choking bitterness on which I gag.  My soul cannot forget; I am bent and broken within myself.  Yet one thing I call to mind, and hope breathes.

Yahweh’s love remains, steadfast and without ceasing. His mercies never end, renewing with every dawn.  Great is Your faithfulness!  My soul declares, “Yahweh is my allotted and sufficient portion; I will steadily hope in Him.”

Yahweh’s goodness is tasted by those who wait for Him; His presence is perceived by those who seek Him.

It is good that one should quietly await Yahweh’s salvation.  It is good to bear His life-giving yoke.  Even if the yoke arrives with suffering, sit in silence and feel its weight. Despair not, for hope is here.  If the yoke arrives as a blow, offer your cheek to your striker, for Yahweh will not endlessly rebuke. Though He grieve you, His compassion is complete, according to His plentiful and steadfast affection.  He is not eager to afflict or grieve the children of men.