We all go through challenges in life. Of course, we often think that our circumstances are most difficult.
The prophet Jeremiah was going through a tougher situation. His city was invaded. He was homeless, persecuted and probably feeling lonely and hungry most of the time. What he wrote in the book of lamentations is good for us.
“The thought of my pain and my homelessness is bitter poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed. Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, so in him I put my hope.” (Lamentations 3:19-26 TEV)
When our world is falling apart, it’s so easy to focus on the pain, the problems, the pressure and the difficulties. It’s the natural response. But the biblical response is to turn our focus to God’s love.
I know there are times when we feel angry against God. I speak for myself. Honestly. However, Jeremiah reminds us that even though we’re mad at God, we need to remind ourselves how much God loves us. Focus on his unconditional love. Remember that we can’t make God stop loving us. You and I can complain. We may frown at him or even scream, but he still loves us forever.
We can see this biblical approach in Jeremiah’s life in Lamentations 3:19-26. Jeremiah starts out focused on his pain: “The thought of my pain and my homelessness is bitter poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed.” Jeremiah was consumed by the devastation around him; it consumed his thoughts and made him bitter and depressed.
If we want to change our lives, we have to change our thoughts. So that’s what Jeremiah does. We see the mental switch in the next verse: “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, so in him I put my hope.”
We don’t know God is all we need until God is all we’ve got. But that’s all we need, because God will take care of us.
We make dumb mistakes when we start doubting God’s love. We start to think, “I know better than God, and I’m going to start choosing my way to do things rather than following God’s way of doing things.” Or we think God is a cosmic killjoy who looks for ways to make our lives miserable.
We need to change our thinking. We need to remember, “The Lord is merciful and will not reject us forever. He may bring us sorrow, but his love for us is sure and strong. He takes no pleasure in causing us grief and pain” (Lamentations 3:31-33 TEV).
God loves you. He is not the strict parent that you couldn’t please. He is not the imperfect parent with weaknesses and faults who messed up. He is God — the eternal, all-knowing, infallible God who created you to love you and will never leave you.
So when you feel like you’ve lost everything, stop focusing on what’s lost and start focusing on what’s left: God and his love for you.