Summary: When we feel like giving up, we need to do what Jeremiah did. We need to remember: God loves us, God is faithful to us, and God will save us.
When All Hope is Lost
Life is hard at times. Your spouse is unfaithful. Your health takes a turn for the worst. A friend betrays you. Your grandchild goes down the wrong path. Your spouse dies. Sometimes our heart is breaking. We know we can’t do anything to change what is happening; we simply must accept the outcome. And sometimes, it feels like all hope is lost.
That must have been how the prophet Jeremiah felt, as he walked the streets of the capital city of Jerusalem. Everywhere he looked, he saw ruin and destruction. His king had been blinded, the king’s sons murdered. People slaughtered, or carried off to captivity. Even the Temple—the presence of God on earth—ransacked by the heathens. The situation for God’s people looked bleak.
Jeremiah chose his words carefully throughout this short little book of the Bible. He wrote in style as a poet. In most of the chapters, each line would start with a different letter of the alphabet. The middle chapter was special, though. In chapter 3, he put his lines in sets of three-- 22 sets of three lines each, with each set beginning with the same Hebrew alphabet character: 3 alephs, 3 bets, 3 gimels, etc.
And in this carefully constructed poem, Jeremiah found God in the storm. He captured the lament, the sense of overwhelming helplessness and hopelessness, what we might call the “dark night of the soul.” It’s that moment that you realize your life is falling apart, and all you can do is cry out to God. And in the storm, Jeremiah found a rainbow. Verse 21: “Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope...” When all seemed lost, he found hope in God.
Ever have a bad day? Most of us have. If you haven’t, yours is coming soon. You’re going to have a bad day. Your friend is going to have a bad day, and maybe you can offer encouragement. So consider these three things to remember, all on your outline...
When life seems to be falling apart, remember:
1. God loves you.
How simple, yet how rich if we fully appreciate it. But this message is hard to remember when we’re down for the count. When life is not going our way, we tend to blame God. We say, “Why me?” When life wasn’t going well for Jeremiah and his country, he chose instead to focus on the qualities of God’s love. Let’s read together verse 22:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
Some translations say “God’s mercies.” The word here for the Lord’s great love is “hesed” in the Hebrew, and here it is actually in plural! It refers to God’s many acts of lovingkindness and faithfulness and goodness to us. Jeremiah, in his darkest hour, chooses to focus on God’s goodness, God’s lovingkindness. It is no coincidence that Jeremiah has saved this verse for the middle of his book; it should be at the middle of our lives, this message of God’s unending love.
In the middle of a bad day, or a bad week, or a bad month, do you remember that God is loving and good? Or do you sometimes wonder where God is, what God is up to, why God has stayed silent, or whether you are even worth his love?
Yes, sometimes this is an act of the will, to focus on God’s great love when we don’t feel it. It takes a lot of faith. But God is unchanging. God loved you completely yesterday. God loves you completely today. And God will love you completely tomorrow. And yes, tomorrow will come. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”
Remember that God loves you, and secondly, remember that...
2. God remains faithful.
Verse 23 reminds us of God’s acts of compassion. It says,
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
God’s acts of love are new every morning. It may have been a rough night, but God is there with the sunrise the next morning. He was faithful yesterday. And he will be faithful today, and forever. You can bank on God, who always keeps his promises.
Listen to these two beautiful psalms:
Psalm 30:5 “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning”
The psalmist realized that even when God’s anger is justified towards us, it is short, and greatly outweighed by his favor. Sometimes you might be responsible for the bad day you are having. God may discipline you. But his love will outshine all of that, as he seeks to draw you back into a healthy relationship with him.