But this I call to mind,
and therefore I 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.’
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
The author of Lamentations (traditionally ascribed to the Prophet Jeremiah, but much modern scholarship is less sure about this) has plenty to lament. The city of Jerusalem is in ruins, it's leaders exiled, the people broken. The writer cries out with all their heart to the God they feel has punished Israel for their sin.
And yet, in the midst of this, there is a sense of hope, and a trust that beyond all that is not understood, all that is suffered, God is to be found, and God's love is ever present. This beautiful phrase "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God's mercies never come to an end." is one that has borne up generations of believers in struggle, and a word of comfort in difficulties.
We cannot see the whole picture, but what we can see is love. The God who loves us, and the world, and enfolds us in love.
And in order to grasp that, says the writer, we need to sit, listen, reflect. To meditate on that love, and to make space for it in our hearts and in our lives. As we do so we can gain a greater understanding of God's longing for salvation (meaning healing, and wholeness) for ourselves and for all.
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into God's presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is God that made us, and we are theirs;
we are God's people, and the sheep of their pasture.
4 Enter God's gates with thanksgiving,
and their courts with praise.
Give thanks to God, bless their name.
5 For the Lord is good;
God's steadfast love endures for ever,
and their faithfulness to all generations.