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Lamentations 4, Psalm 42

Life is rough when you believe your people would have been better off if fire from the sky had obliterated your city. To suggest that God’s punishment on Judah is greater than that of Sodom is to suggest this very thing (Lamentation 4:6). Images of gentle women boiling their children alive and children not having water to drink certainly lend credence to this claim. There is a greater suffering in a slow, humiliating suffering, than a quick and decisive end. Words cannot easily describe the horrors this writer witnessed. What Lamentations shows is that even horrific suffering need not lead us away from God, though we know God is author of our many afflictions. In fact, turning from God is what caused their trouble in the first place (4:13). God will punish sin, but God will also bring an end to Judah’s suffering. So this writer implicitly invites the readers then and now to turn to God and away from the sin that brought these ultimately brings great suffering. May our suffering, just or seemingly unjust, cause us ever to turn to God and never turn away from the one who suffered in our place!

Jeremiah Vaught