Updated: Nov 14
Lamentations 3: 25
Here is Jeremiah, lamenting the fall of Jerusalem and the exile of many residents to Babylon, and he's talking about hoping in God and seeking God - again.
Again? Yes, as I continue this pre-Advent devotional series on Lamentations 3: 19-36, we see Jeremiah writing about hope and seeking God in verse 25:
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
This is not far off from one of Jeremiah's "greatest hits," arguably his most famous passage in Jeremiah 29: 11, written earlier as Jerusalem spiraled toward its fall.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
This is a favored verse that is written upon plaques and coffee mugs. But the verse does not stand alone. Jeremiah wrote in the next two verses (Jeremiah 29: 12-13) something very similar to what we see in Lamentations 3.
"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah describes in both Lamentations and his self-titled book that there is a connection between hope and seeking. Hope in God leads to seeking God. Hope is not a passive wish; it is an active decision.
When we are crushed, when we are in despair, when we sit in the rubble of our lives as Jeremiah does, we look toward the shining light of hope. As Christians, we see the source of this light and seek it, the living God.
Thomas Aquinas equates hope with God Himself, writing:
For we should hope from Him for nothing less than Himself, since His goodness, whereby He imparts good things to His creature, is no less than His essence. Therefore the proper and principal object of hope is eternal happiness.
Let's break down what Aquinas is saying, because it's important.
When we hope, we hope for God.
The reason we hope for God is because it is God's nature to give good things to us.
Since God is the source of everlasting good things and happiness, we seek Him more so than we seek a particular gift from Him.
God wants us to seek and find Him when we feel hopeless. He listens to our prayers. He invites us into His presence. Hope is the starting square for seeking God and finding His relief.
In our 7-day practical faith walk, we are going to feel hopeless at times. Recently I cried out to God in despair on a particular point of concern, saying, "Is it always going to be like this? I don't think I can take it anymore!" And God's response and promise in prayer was, "Yes, it might be always like this. But I will be with you through it all." And it caused me to hope again.
When you are hopeless, hope. But don't stop there. That moment of hope is the start of a journey of seeking God. And when you seek God, you will be rewarded, first with His presence, and then with the good gifts He wants you to have.
When we are in crisis, we cling to hope and cry out for God. My video series and book, The Next Thing: A Christian Model for Dealing with Crisis in Personal Life, offers a four-part structure for getting through any crisis. The model is underpinned by scripture, as described in the material. Both the videos and the book are available via https://www.ceciltaylorministries.com/the-next-thing. The book is also available on Amazon, BarnesAndNoble.com, Google Books, and my publisher, Dove Christian Publishers.