The new day arrives; whatever that looks like for you, and you sit up in your bed, shake the cobwebs off and begin to think about your upcoming day. Do you look at the day as something to be dreaded? Perhaps, as you sit up, you begin to remember that there are unfinished tasks at work, or at home, or in your marriage. Or, perhaps you begin to ruminate about a quarrel you had the day before with a friend, or a coworker, or even your spouse? In any case, you may struggle with drumming up the energy it is going to take to just to face your day. You may even think, “I will just lay back down and hide from the world today”.
I think we have all had mornings, or even a string of mornings like this. And, even though each day is new; there are times when all of us wake up feeling like we are dragging the weight of yesterday, or the day before, or the week before, or even past year or years before with us as we rise to the new day. We sit up on the edge of our beds, take a deep sigh, reflect on the past and feel indescribably heavy. Have you ever experienced that? You would be in good company if you did. Meaning, there are men in the Bible that have felt the very same way.
It is very easy to get caught up in the past;
isn’t it? To remain chained to those
things that are foregone or even dead
issues. We can ruminate on what “should
have been”, what “could have been” or even what “might be”; giving very little
thought to the contentment we are to have in Christ.
Jeremiah, the prophet, was one such man. He is long to be thought of as the writer of the Book of Lamentations. It is a book wherein the writer is lamenting or mourning over the destruction of Judah, Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians. God allowed these things to be destroyed for Israel’s disobedience, and the writer of Lamentations mourns and weeps, all while asking some of the same questions about “what could have been”, “what should have been” and even “what might be”. From the first chapter of Lamentations through chapter three, the author describes his pain and sorrow over the fallen Israel. But then he regains focus, he sets his eyes on God’s mercy and more importantly he finds solace and great hope in God and God alone. He seems to be instantly filled with remembering God’s endless mercy and he regains his bearing as he finds his contentment in the Lord alone. He writes:
“Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope:Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him,The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord…” Lamentations 3: 21-26 (CSB)
The author continues to lament and cry out to God after this stanza, but through it all, he recognizes that God is to be honored in all things. The Psalmist also recognized, in chapter 30, that the results of our sins, or the affect of the sins of others in our lives, only lasts for a moment in time, and God’s mercies are new everyday. He writes:
“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor, a lifetime.
Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning”. Psalms 30:5 (CSB)
While these poems, laments and songs were not written specifically to us, they are documented for us; so that we might understand God’s character and what our proper response to His character should be. Reminding us of the unchanging character of God which is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8)
The heart change from lament to joy begins and ends with two things; a right perspective of God through the daily reading of His word and the right perspective of our position with Him through prayer. Starting our daily conversation with God by praying scriptures may look something like this:
“Let me experience, your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in you. Reveal to me the way I should go, because I appeal to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I come to you for protection.Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground”. (Psalms 143: 8-10 CSB)
Praying scripture, like the one just listed, is where we can learn to gain the proper perspective. A perspective like Pauls as he is writing from his jail cell and explaining to the church at Philippi that his contentment is not found in anything other than God. He wrote:
“I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13 (CSB)
How encouraging is it that God pours out His love for us that His mercies are new everyday. Everyday is a new day in which we can move in a direction that defines our eternity. Our contentment is not found in the things of this world, but in God’s constant and consistent mercy; His saving grace.