Something I love about where I work is that twice a year, we have Prayer Day. The institute empties for most of a day, and people scatter throughout the surrounding area to find solitude and fellowship with God.
As part of my Prayer Day last Wednesday, I paraphrased parts of Lamentations 3. I thought it would be a nice exercise. I didn’t realize how accurately it would reflect my story.
My paraphrase of parts of Lamentations 3: 15-33:
He made me eat distasteful, disgusting things. He filled me with bitterness. When people bumped me, I spilled over with acid and hatred.
He filled my mouth with grit. I lay lower than the curb and sidewalks. I had no rest in my soul, no quietness, nothing to soothe me–not even the semblance of comfort of a padded savings account.
I can easily recall the awfulness. It’s always just under the surface of my thoughts. It’s easy to say “I’m desolate, bereft, devastated, ugly. What I thought was lovely about me or my life is gone. God has broken my heart.”
The memories haunt me. I remember the depression, the acid, the hardships and injustice. I can feel the old darkness and and heaviness and suffocation again.
I remember something else, and this keeps me from despair.
I was low, but God’s immense, endless love kept me from death. His care and deep concern for me never stopped, even when I forgot Him and gave in to darkness.
The signs of His care surround me. Every morning’s light reveals new love notes from Him.
His mercy always shows up again.
So I remind myself of what is true: “My God is my life. I will die without Him. He has proved Himself, and when I can’t see or feel Him I will wait. I will rest quietly, confident that He’ll show up again. When my eyes are cleaned from their cloudiness, I see He was with me all the time.”
On those whose gaze is fixed upward and outward, He pours His goodness. To the one who craves His presence, He presses in close.
It’s good to be quiet and rest instead of strive. It’s good to watch, hand over mouth, at how He saves the day again. It’s good to work hard before I’m old because it develops the muscles of faith and teaches me how utterly and completely dependable He is.
Though He allows hardship, His care never stops. He weeps with me, and covers me with endless love. He doesn’t enjoy seeing His children struggling in loss and grief. He knows tears too. And He knows that pain isn’t the end of the story.