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 3:22-24)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Lamentations is not fun to read. It is a lament. The author is grieving the destruction of Jerusalem and the suffering of God’s people. God’s people sinned, and thus, God condemned them and sent Babylon to punish them.
Our text for today is the only bright point in the whole book. It sits right in the middle of Lamentations, indicating that it is the most important part of the book and the key to grieving faithfully.
Tragedy happens. Sometimes it is a result of our stupid, sinful choices. Other times tragedies seem random and unfair. Regardless, God’s people often suffer trauma. And it is okay to grieve and lament whenever something bad happens!
That being said, St. Paul reminds us that we grieve, but not without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We know that the worst tragedy in world history was the crucifixion of Jesus. We also know that God reversed this tragedy: Jesus was raised from the dead. God also used this tragedy to accomplish the greatest good: the salvation of mankind!
Because of Jesus, we know that God is loyal and full of a never-ending love. His faithfulness is so great that we can depend on our Lord and wait for Him with confidence. The exiles hoped that the Lord would resurrect the nation of Israel, bring the exiles back to their land, rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple, and send the Messiah. We hope that our Lord Jesus Christ will return to raise us from the dead, grant us access to the new creation, and dwell with us forever.
Yes, we grieve, because tragedies happen. However, that’s not the end of the story. The story ends with Jesus coming and bringing an end to evil once and for all! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives, that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (Prayer in Times of Affliction and Distress, LSB p. 317)