Monday Morning Devotion-February 15, 2021
Easing the Wait
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3: 25-26
*reprint from February 24, 2014
"All good things come to him who waits." Ever heard that old statement? Sometimes we find it hard to believe that one.
It's easy to feel like giving up when you wait and wait and do not get the desired result. Just ask all the rejected writers of the world. And I guess that would be all writers. Don't know of anyone who has never had even one of his or her work rejected.
Sometimes in life it can seem like there is more failure and rejection than there is success. When we are in a bad situation, going through difficult times we want them to end immediately. We want out. Want to feel better fast. That can happen. But, not always.
Jeremiah and his people had been through a lot. Jerusalem had been destroyed. Jeremiah mourned for Jerusalem.
"Jerusalem's streets, once bustling with people, are now silent. Like a widow broken with grief, she sits alone in her mourning," he writes in Lamentations 1. "Once the queen of nations, she is now a slave."
The capital had been destroyed, the king was gone, and the people were in exile. What hope did they have?
It's hard to talk about being patient to people who are in that condition. It would be easy to beat up on them even more and rub it in. After all they got what they asked for. God had warned them if they abandoned him, went seeking after idols, worshipping other people's god that judgement would be swift and merciless.
"The Lord in his anger has cast a dark shadow over Jerusalem. The fairest of Israel's cities lies in the dust, thrown down from the heights of heaven." (Lamentations 2:1) That's a good example of why you don't want to anger God.
But, if you have, then what do you do? Jeremiah says that you repent, trust Him and wait.
The prophet Jeremiah was suffering greatly just like his people were. He says, "The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I griever over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this. The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction."
They might have heard that and said, "Well God sure has a funny way of showing his love. Look at us. We are a mess."
Isn't it true that people who have suffered a great loss or setback usually take a "it's somebody-else's-fault-approach."? Like granddaughters who usually say, when something happens, "it's not my fault."
We also ask "Why me Lord? I don't deserve this." Maybe we don't but most of the time it is something we brought on ourselves. An unwise decision made. A selfish action that ignores the prospects of failure and focuses only on what we want. Ignoring someone else's wants or needs.
Well, the Israelites had done this. They completely ignored what God wanted. Thus, they got what they didn't want. Disaster!
Like parents discipline their children to produce right behavior, so God disciplined Judah to produce right living and genuine worship. (NTL commentary)
Just as those folks had to do, we must allow God's correction to bring about the kind of behavior in our life that pleases Him. Pleasing God, not ourselves, is what it is all about.
Strangely, when we take that approach, we find that what pleases God, ultimately pleases us as well.
Jeremiah saw that the one ray of hope surrounding the chaos that had become the Israelites lives was God's love. Despite how things look. No matter what dumb things we do. God's love is unfailing and never ending. We just have to get on the same page.
And just as the seeds of disappointment and destruction that are sown don't blossom overnight, neither do the rewards of changing our ways come about instantaneously.
Like the child who behaves just to get what he wants°some candy°a trip to the movies, etc. then afterward reverts back to misbehaving, so it often is with us.
Sometimes when faced with great difficulty we pray for God's help and we get it. In His ceaseless love and grace, he rescues us. We give thanks or maybe we don't even do that. We are so happy to get out of that mess. We go on our merry way. And sometimes we slip back into the former behavior or get into the same kind of situations that caused the problem before.
Jeremiah pointed out that yes, they were in a pickle. Yes, they did wrong and were paying the consequences. But it could be worse. They were still alive, not dead. So now they had a chance to right their wrongs. The ball was in their court. It wasn't up to God to do all the work, pull them up by their bootstraps, to lift them from the depths of despair. They had to do their part.
They had to change their ways!
The good thing was that God's faithfulness is so great and his tender mercies surround us so much that each day is a new gift. They had the opportunity each day to start over. To trust God and to do the right thing.
We have the same opportunity. Just the fact that you are reading this and have gotten this far means that you inherently understand God's love for you is so great that you cannot be defeated. He will not let you down when you honestly seek Him and try to do His will.
While you do that and wait for His help always remember, "Great is His Faithfulness."
Then great will be your thankfulness!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for your great faithfulness that saves us from our own mistakes. Amen!