Summary: Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. He faced great opposition and at one point blamed God for it. We often do the same. Jeremiah shows us the way out.
“When Crisis Hits”
Lamentations 3:7-9; 17-27
Once a month for the past 8 months I have met with a group of pastors in our area. We come together for three hours to learn from each other, to encourage each other and to pray for each other. We met this past Monday night and as we closed, my partner and prayer took me by the hand and he said, how can I pray for you? I didn’t ask him the same question and we prayed together. Such a simple thing but prayer makes such a big difference.
Many people are of the mistaken opinion that pastors are somehow immune to problems, hurts and that their families are as well. As pastors meeting together we share requests for our families, our wives, our children, our finances, our churches. And when we are done there is always plenty to pray about.
For some odd reason people expect the pastor and his wife and family to be problem free. There many expectations placed on the pastor and his family and at times it is hard. I say this to just remind you that at times family life can be difficult for all of us and pastor’s families are certainly not exempt. When crisis comes along, it shows no favoritism. In fact most of us would agree with this statement...
Many times we have just finished dealing with a crisis, or we are dealing with one right now or we are waiting for the next crisis to arrive.
In the Old Testament we meet a prophet named Jeremiah. We believe he wrote several books in the OT and including the book of Lamentations. And that’s a strange word—we don’t use the word lamentation usually unless we are referring to this book in the Bible. The word lament means to express sorrow, mourning, regret or grief and to do so out loud. It means to wail, to express sorrow in a powerful way.
Jeremiah, who wrote the book of Lamentations was nicknamed the weeping prophet. And when you read the text you can quickly see why. In fact Jeremiah said if only my head were a pool of water in my eyes a fountain of tears I would weep day and night. Jeremiah is telling us that he had wept so much over Israel that he had run out of tears. He goes on to say, my joy he has flown away, grief has settled on me and my heart is sick. His supply of tears was not big enough to handle the grief and despair he was facing. At one time or another we of all felt this way. And when it strikes, despair always affects the home.
This happens to Jeremiah and it leads him to make several statements regarding his despair. Lamentations 3:7.
(1) Verse 7. I feel trapped. He, speaking of God himself, He, has walled me in. Verses 7-9. For some reason, Jeremiah felt trapped. Walls all around him and no way to escape. As though he was way down, with heavy chains and he needed someone to break those chains. Let me ask you, have you been there before? Because if you have or that’s where you are now, you need to acknowledge it.
Jeremiah said the walls were all closing in around him and the burden was so heavy that he felt weighed down by heavy chains and on top of that everything was compounded by the fact Jeremiah felt that his prayers were not going any higher than the ceiling and he came to the conclusion that it was God that was causing all of it. .
(2) Verses 17-18. I am no longer happy and my future has been stolen from me. Here is Jeremiah living among many prophets of his day-and many were what we refer to as false prophets-he tells us back in chapter 2 that the false prophets were proclaiming a message that was false; it was full of empty promises and very deceptive! And Jeremiah is right about that for sure but again he comes to the mistaken conclusion that God is working against him; that God is supposed to him in his work. And as a result he feels there is nothing good he can say to anyone. One more.
(3) Verses 19-20. I can’t stop thinking about my past and I have now become depressed. We use the word depressed too loosely. For those among us who experience in dealing with depression you know exactly what I’m talking about. Too many people can have one thing goes wrong, they get down a bit in and say you know I feel depressed today. That could be but is not likely that his depression. Depression is not just being in a bad mood or feeling out of it for a few hours. Depression cuts deeper than that. It can rob us of our future and cause us to lose hope and we begin to feel like everything is wrong, always has been always will be. Fortunately there is a second part to this chapter. And I find here that Jeremiah reminds us that when we are in this Valley that he is describing, there are several facts we must remember.