In Australia the days are starting to get colder, flu season hits and tiredness can feel like it is seeping into our very bones. We can be weary physically through getting older or having younger children, we can be weary from work or the pressures of life, we can be weary of living in a world burdened under the weight of sin. During these times of weariness, it can be easy for our circumstances to get the better of us and simply get us down. Recently, Melissa Kruger reflected that it is easy to be weary when we look at the news, particularly if we are following the developments in the US in terms of gender and marriage ‘equality,’ that are also hitting our Aussie shores [ref]Melissa Kruger, Worship in the Midst of a Weary World, May 17, 2016, https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/melissakruger/2016/05/17/worship-in-the-midst-of-a-weary-world/ [/ref]
At times like this, I love how God has enabled such raw honesty in his word. When we feel weary, it is easy for our flesh to cry out “Woe is me, no-one understands” Yet, weariness and being cast down is not a new development; for as Solomon put it, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc 1:9). So then, in these times, where can we find hope? Where is our energy drink to inject into our souls? What hope does the Bible give us when weariness has simply got us down?
Turn Our Wallowing to Praise
In Psalm 43, King David talks to his own soul “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 43:5). In this verse, David models using praise to lift our eyes out of the pit we are in for a moment and instead of whinging, use our lips and hearts to praise. We can hope in God and praise Him for He is our God and our salvation!
Turn Our Lamenting Into Rememberance
The book of Lamentations is a book of loud cries and has even been described as a “distressful dirge” [ref] John MacArthur, Lamentations, http://www.gty.org/resources/bible-introductions/MSB25/lamentations [/ref]. In this book, the writer (historically believed to be Jeremiah) grieves over the destruction of Jerusalem. He is acutely feeling the suffering of being an eyewitness to the decimation of Jerusalem and he is certainly feeling downcast.
In chapter 3, we read some great descriptions of just how low he was feeling- “He drove into my kidneys the arrows of his quiver; I have become the laughingstock of all people, the object of their taunts all day long” (v. 13-14); or “He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is…” (v. 16-17). Simply put, the writer knows what it is to feel low.
But then we read, “But this I call to mind, and therefore 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.” (Lam 3:21-24). Here, the writer models for us that we can bring God’s word to mind and this can give us hope. We can see and know that God’s love is steadfast and will never end, he is faithful and merciful and will be forever. We can place our hope in him, rather than in overcoming our current trial or circumstance. To do this though, we need to get God’s word into us, we need to meditate on it, we need to taste it and savour it and see that it is good.
Seek God in Silence
The writer of Lamentations continues to exhort his soul to have some perspective. He writes, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lam 3:25-26). Here, we can be reminded to shut up some of our moaning and groaning for a moment and seek God. To withdraw from our own self-focus and look to God. As we wait for him, drawing near to him and seeking him in quietness, God’s goodness can be seen. We can be reminded of who God is and the salvation he has offered. We can have a reenergised soul and take comfort that he has not forgotten us. We can be renewed and refreshed as the word of God washes over us, his truths recharging our souls and awakening our minds.
Whatever your circumstances, may you know this to be true: God is faithful, merciful, all-powerful, all-knowing and his plans can be trusted. Seek him and have your soul refreshed today.