But This I Call to Mind…

…and therefore I have hope.

It’s just a segue…the lead-in to one of the most oft-quoted verses in all of scripture.

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

It’s no wonder that Lamentations 3:22-23 is such a “popular” verse.  It provides such rich encouragement to the child of God.  It gives assurance.  It reminds us of God’s compassion and His faithfulness.  It comforts.  It fills us with hope.  It’s the stuff of great hymns.

But a few years ago, I was struck by verse 21.  And the little word “but.”

But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.”

That little word and the realization that it signaled the importance of what preceded it, caused me to take a deeper look at the first part of Lamentations 3.  Though by this time, I had heard (and sung) the words of the latter part of Lamentations 3 more times than I could count, it dawned on me that I knew little of what led up to perhaps the greatest words of hope the scriptures had to offer.  I read the deep groanings of a desperate man, God’s man, the prophet Jeremiah.  I was surprised to find a bitter, hopeless man, overwhelmed by pain and despair.

“I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the LORD’s wrath…”

“He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones.”

“Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.”

“He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver.”

“So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them,  and my soul is downcast within me.”

Then, in the midst of the suffering, in the middle of the trial, Jeremiah breathes that word.

“BUT…”

Despite all the suffering, and in spite of all the pain, Jeremiah found the strength to remember.  He chose to call something else to mind…something that he knew would bring him hope.

“But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.”

It’s so easy to let our sufferings overwhelm us.  It can be so easy to believe that there is no way out of the despair and the hopelessness.  But God has filled us with the knowledge of His faithfulness and he has given us the ability to choose to remember.  Trusting in his faithfulness is an act of the will.  It’s something we must choose to do.  And like Jeremiah, when we choose to remember his faithfulness in the midst of our struggle, we are filled with hope.

(Many thanks to a dear friend who reminded me yesterday of just how faithful God has been.)

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10 responses

    • So true, Steve! And I think I remember when you shared that!

      It was at Moody that these thoughts first impacted me. I was struggling so much with homesickness and was so overwhelmed and ready to give up. First I read Psalm 42…someone (I think it was God!!) had left this verse on a 3×5 card sitting on the piano in my practice room.

      “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

      One verse led to another and I found myself at Lamentations. That was the very first time I ever really remember consciously applying scripture to my life in a really meaningful way. I really think God changed me that day! I read this passage often. I “call this to mind” regularly!!

    • Not so much recently. But this song was sung at church on Sunday by a young woman who has been going through a very challenging time and I just couldn’t shake these thoughts yesterday. And the song just kept going through my head. Over and over again! Maybe it’s the Lord’s way of preparing me for more challenging times to come? 🙂

  1. What a great post! I am particularly struck by the word consumed because it is so easy to be consumed by worry/impatience/selfishness/anxiety/fear, but this verse says we need not be consumed by these things BECAUSE of His compassion…new everyday. What a promise!

  2. Pingback: A Quiet Simple Life » Link-o-rama 30

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