The Lord is My Portion
As the summer begins, our friends’ Facebook pages fill with images of fun-filled days, vacations, and people brimming with happiness. We should, of course, be thankful for those blessings for ourselves if we have them and for our friends as they enjoy life, family, and God’s blessings. We should, however, also consider the other side of these images. Recent studies have suggested that social media add to our feelings of alienation in the modern world and sometimes even build a sense of envy as they lead what psychologists call “social comparison.” While everyone seems to be posting the good things of life, we can also develop a distorted version of reality: everyone else is living this exciting life while I seem to have hardship after hardship. Indeed, those around us, our families, ourselves have real problems that social media cover over with a one-sided version of life. Lamentations 3 reminds us of the age-old plight of God’s faithful people working their way through life.
Verse 1: I am the man who has seen affliction Because of the rod of His wrath.—God’s people see affliction. Sometimes when they have turned away from God; sometimes when they have remained faithful.
Verse 4: He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away, He has broken my bones.—God’s people suffer from illness: cancer, autoimmune diseases, broken bones and other injuries.
Verse 6: In dark places He has made me dwell, Like those who have long been dead.—God’s people deal with mental and emotional illness and disorders.
Verse 7: He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy.—God’s people sometimes deal with financial, job, and material problems and burdens.
Verse 8: Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer.—God’s people are often plagued with doubt and indecision.
Verse 9: He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.—God’s people face temptation.
Verse 10: He is to me like a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in secret places.—God’s people face physical dangers.
Verse 14: I have become a laughingstock to all my people, Their mocking song all the day.—God’s people sometimes face ridicule from others because of their faith and for other reasons.
Verse 18: So I say, “My strength has perished, And so has my hope from the Lord.”—Sometimes God’s people get to the end of their tethers and feel as though their only recourse is to give up.
But Jeremiah continues by giving God’s people then (and now) the solution to all of these problems. This solution is not the immediate kind of solution that we are programed to trust in today in our wi-fi world. This is a long-abiding, faith-built, peace-filled solution that we need to remind ourselves of daily.
This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”