If I didn’t put Lamentations at the end of the passage below, these words could have spoken or written by any disgruntled individual today. Whenever anyone endures a stretch of bad breaks, failure and sadness, it feels as if God is punishing you for some unknown reason. As a child I attended a church that over emphasized the Old Testament, painting a different picture of God from the New Testament. Thus, I grew up without a limited perspective of God’s true character and nature, seeing the Lord as a disciplinarian, judge and punisher for those who do evil.
I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the Lord’s wrath. He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long, Lamentations 3:1-3.
The book of Lamentations has one of the most interesting chapters in the Bible. The prophet Jeremiah begins by expressing the anguish of his depression. This remorse continues like a tirade of complaining for twenty verses. After letting all of his emotions out in the form of recorded words, Jeremiah transitions to the positive. Despite how bad things may look, Jeremiah recalls a message of hope from the Torah, another name for the first five books of the Bible. This promise altered his mood, bringing to light that each new day serves as a fresh start on life.
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, Lamentations 3:21-23.
While you can’t reset life like a video game without removing the consequences, altering your attitude is a good place to start. The hardest part of any complete transformation is learning how to forgive yourself. This is even more difficult for those who possess a quest for perfection. While God forgives and forgets, casting your sins as far as the east is from the west, the Devil uses guilt to haunt your mind by bringing up secret scars. For most of my life, I have fought a losing battle, overlooking God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy, distracted by past failures. After hearing a song from the group Firefight earlier in the week, I know the course of action I must take; viewing each morning as a Brand New Day.
by Jay Mankus