Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Friday, April 15, Evening – Good Friday
By Jeff Cheek
Despair, but also Hope
Read: Lamentations 3:16-24
“He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust. I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. So I say, ‘My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord.’ I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”
As Christians observe Lent, it is easy to despair. Here is our Savior, the Son of God, on this relentless journey towards a terrible ending. Imperfect man crucifying our perfect Savior. Jesus endures true sacrifice and real pain inflicted by the world. “My soul is bowed down” or “bereft of peace” can really ring true in dark times. We envision Jesus alone in the wilderness; it is easy to feel alone ourselves.
Through Lent we endeavor to sacrifice as well, to do something that reminds us of His sacrifice. But even then, as we examine our relationship, how could we possibly match that? Jesus is so great, powerful, perfect, and we’re… not. Even in our lamenting we fall short, in our sacrifice we can’t possibly sacrifice enough. It is hard to find inner peace or hope with these thoughts racing through our minds.
However, just like Jeremiah, we can despair in one breath, but in the next have hope. Remember, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases”, never. God is with you always; you are never alone. Remember the sacrifice, don’t forget the pain, but don’t lose sight of the ending either. Remember God’s love for you; remember even through sacrifice and pain, God’s love never fails.
Lord, thank You for being with us through our dark times. Help us remember that pain and sacrifice will come, but even in those times, Your love never leaves us, not even for a second. May every breath of despair be followed by a breath of hope.