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Posts Tagged ‘#greatisthyfaithfulness’

IMG_3851While driving one day last week the words of a song were heard by my heart.

Being on the cusp of change I needed to be reminded of that which does not, and there is nothing like the words in the middle of the Lamentations to re-set one’s … laments.

“Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

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.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:21-26

The book of Lamentations is one of mourning, weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jerusalem had been destroyed. The city of the people of God, God’s place of residence, was destroyed.

The book is written in poetic forms … ah, how poetry can make more sense when we are bowed to our knees.

The Lamentations are a cry for God to restore his people (aka, they blew it, and were begging on their knees to be forgiven). In this book, God never speaks … it is as though he  let them, wanted them to cry out, so as to remind them of his mercifulness, even in the midst of their laments.

So, as I listened to the song, Do It Again, and heard the words that reminded me of the unfailing faithfulness of my creator, redeemer, sustainer God, I sighed with the confidence that “his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.”

The Lamentations reminds us, not only of the faithfulness of God (right in the middle of the laments), but that praise and lament/weeping can happen simultaneously. That God is faithful, in the good times, and in the times of sorrow, loss, confusion, sickness and heartbreak.

And if he has shown his compassion and faithfulness in the past, we can have confidence, hope that he will do it again.

Do It Again
-Elevation Worship
Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet
I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet
I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
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It is early morning, and I am sitting in my cozy chair, with only the light from my deck, and my computer screen. I glance out the window to the beauty of the recent snowfalls. The rain is falling steadily, and the only other sound is my wonder dog, snoring in the chair beside me. I have just received notice that school/work is cancelled due to dangerous road conditions. I am at peace.

But, with the rain falling, I know that dark, wet, slushy storms are just around the corner.

In our neck of the Pacific Northwest woods, some would say that the rain is the signal that the storms are coming to an end. Snowfall amounts have been adding up to record-breaking totals for five days straight.

For me, the snow is not a storm, for I have learned to live with snow, to move with snow … which means to slow down and to embrace the snow.

But the rain … I still wrestle with the rain.

When the rains fall, day after day after day, there is a weight that begins to descend that leads me to a dark and soul-lamenting that I cannot choose to leave … I have to ride the storm, and wait for it to pass.

I have been learning, in the last few years, to approach this dreaded season differently, as I have been leaning in to lament.

Through this process, I have been learning not to fear the ‘wet and dark season’ but worshipping through it. In essence I have been practising what the author (Jeremiah?) of Lamentations has shared.

It is interesting that the Hebrew word for the book means “how” and the Greek translation of the title means “lament”. I, in my grand theological studies (tongue in cheek) like to think of the book of Lamentations as meaning, how to lament.

In this book, I see great lamenting, being very real before God (heck, he knows how we feel anyway, we might as well admit it when we feel we are defeated, crushed, in the pit). But, I also see hope (3:22-25):

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.”

Lamenting does not only happen in the book of Lamentations.

There are numerous Psalms (aka sacred songs) in which the author is lamenting, weeping, sorrow filled, and they are usually directed specifically to God. My favourite is Psalm 13, which begins with “How long, Lord?” and ends with “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”

I recently saw this quote (below), which was like a thesis statement for me in my pursuit of understanding lamenting:

“The whole point of lamentation is you don’t use your pain as an excuse not to worship; you actually take your pain and you bring it with you before the alter, and you stand there with your pain and you say, “Though all this is true, yet I will rejoice in You!” It is the highest form of worship that exists.” Graham Cooke

And so, today, as I watch the rains fall, I will lament, and I will praise God, for he is faithful.

In practising praise in the midst of my lament of rain, I am growing a practise that I pray will hold me up when the greater storms of life descend, and my response will be to lean in to lament, and to continue to worship God, for he is faithful.

 

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The New Year has just barely begun.

As we get older, we may feel a bit like King Solomon, penning his “everything is meaningless” tirade, as we too know how rare a new year has made anything new in our lives.

We might be entering this new year with:

– the heaviness of battles lost the year before

– the month that stretches further than the money

– the entry level job that has no access to the next level

– the medical results with more questions than answers

– the child who has strayed so far from his purpose

– the marriage of strangers

– disappointment with a quiet, un-intervening God, who you just know

could do something …

but hasn’t,

doesn’t.

You might be lamenting more than resolving, as you get settled into this new year on the calendar.

Jeremiah, certainly knew what it was to lament (Lamentations 3:19-24), as the presumed author of the book of Lamentations. He did not spare a thought, when he cried out to God, for the sorrows in his life.

Maybe you, like Jeremiah, have been crying out to God :

“please, I cannot take anymore …
Just give me a sign that You are still with me …”

Yet, in the midst of his lament, we have words of hope :


“… therefore I have hope:
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.”

Jeremiah was not speaking from his most recent experience, as his words previously, and following, indicate that he had not awakened to relief from what was agonizing to him in a very long time. His words were born out of commitment, out of trust in a god who saves.

After Jeremiah spoke of God’s mercy, and His faithfulness, he then went on to speak his words of great resolve :

“I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.””

Can we speak such words? Even if it seems that God is silent? Even if it seems that He is not listening to our lament? Can we enter this new year with conviction that “the Lord is my portion”? Or, to rephrase it, the Lord is enough.

Is the Lord enough for you? If He is all there is, is He enough to sustain you?

If we can enter 2015, able to say with our mouth, our mind and our heart, that God is enough, and resolve to live it as true, then maybe we can come to the end of this year with King Solomon’s meaningless tirade, far from our own experience. Maybe we can end 2015 saying there is meaning in life.

And we don’t have to bite the whole year off at once, for His mercies are new every morning.

 

 

 

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