Quite literally it’s a bit of color amidst prevailing black and white . . . and grey . . . so very much grey. I’m in Lamentations . . . not a particularly inviting title . . . not a particularly invigorating subject matter . . . this it not a “pick me up” sort of book. The writer, probably Jeremiah, is overwhelmed as he replays the destruction of Jerusalem . . . the utter decimation of God’s beloved Zion. “The LORD has done what He purposed; He has carried out His word” (Lam. 2:17) . . . judging the adulteress daughter of His calling . . . raising up Jacob’s enemies to extract the price for Jacob’s unfaithfulness. And, as the dust settles . . . and the ravages of judgment replay, again and again, in his mind, . . . the prophet is overcome with grief . . . “my eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out to the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people” (2:11).
Then, in chapter 3, it gets personal. Not only is his beloved homeland in ruins . . . but he too is beat up and so very alone. He had been the voice of God declaring the judgment of God to come. And, as such, he had become the enemy of the people. Though faithful to the call of God, his personal suffering was multiplied upon that which his people experienced. And so, he weeps too for himself . . . he laments his own wasting away . . . his soul crushed by his own suffering.
So, as one who colors his Bible, for the better part of two and a half chapters, I haven’t had much to highlight . . . pretty grey . . . pretty barren. But then some color comes onto the pages of my Bible . . . the color of God’s love and faithfulness . . . the color of God’s promises . . . color which infuses inner strength into those who know lament . . .
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24 ESV)
By the gracious moving hand of the Spirit of God, the prophet averts his eyes off himself and onto the LORD. The dark clouds of his circumstance clear and he calls to mind that which again gives him hope. Fact . . . the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases. Fact . . . His mercies never come to an end. Fact . . . our God is a faithful God. Reality . . . the LORD is my portion. Result . . . therefore I will hope in Him.
The LORD is my portion. He is the inheritance . . . He is the reward . . . He is the end game.
Despite all the loss in the prophets life . . . despite the destruction he had witnessed . . . the pain he had bore . . . hope is revived when He is able to see in the LORD His portion . . . His purpose . . . His prize. Or, as another has penned . . . Turn your eyes upon Jesus . . . look full in His wonderful face . . . and the things of earth will grow strangely dim . . . in the light of His glory and grace (Helen H. Lemmel, 1922).
Sometimes, when you’re at the bottom, it’s good to consider the bottom line. And for the believer that bottom line is that the Lord is our portion.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ . . .
(Philippians 3:8 ESV)
That’s the color on the page . . . that’s the color, ultimately, in our lives . . . that we may gain Christ . . . that we may know afresh Him as our portion. Then hope is renewed . . . the song is revived . . . the glory is God’s.