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Lamentations 3, Psalm 41

How could the person who says about God, “Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help” (Lamentations 3:10-11) claim just a few sentences later, ““The Lord is my portion;  therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:24) Waiting doesn’t seem like such a good idea if God is going to mangle you like a bear! Occasionally the Psalms will hold both the heavy hand and the graceful hand of God together in tension, but nowhere quite like in Lamentations 3. Also, I don’t know a place in scripture more clear in stating all that is good and bad under the sun happens by the work of the Lord. Add to this how deeply personal these words are, for the writer speaks in the first person both about God’s afflictions and promised blessings. So when we hear the claim, “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?” (Lamentation 3:38) we know this is not some disinterested, abstract claim about a distant sovereign. These words come from the mouth of one who has learned to shed tears of anguish when God’s load is heavy, and tears of gladness when God’s favor shines. As I tried to place myself in the shoes of the writer, and read this chapter from inside their eyes, reading that destruction and delight  both come from God, I cannot help but me moved to tears in reverence. Whatever God sends may we worship in complete surrender the Lord of all the earth.

Jeremiah Vaught