Lamentations

Tuesday Devotional: Lamentations 5

bible Read Lamentations 5

Things are not the way they are supposed to be.  This we can all agree is indisputable.  The questions we ask are “Why?” and “What can we do to change our situation?”  Our instinct is to look at external factors influencing our status and to seek a remedy to those factors.  We see injustice and decide that the best course of action is to address the social and legal issues underlying the injustices.  We see poverty and decide that a new social initiative requiring more legislation or community activism will most effectively change the situation and fix the problem.

The problem is that poverty has never been solved.  Injustice has never been solved.  We do in fact have an obligation to do what we can to improve our communities and the lives of those around us. However, regardless of the amount of time, energy and resources we throw at a problem, the problem will persist, most likely grow and exist for others to wrestle with after we have passed on.

So, is there any hope?  Is there any point in addressing these issues if the outcome will never change and our efforts will have little to no impact on the problems?  If we rely on our own efforts and believe that our new idea or program will conquer the insurmountable summit of suffering in this world, then no.  The solution to these problems is counterintuitive.  Where we think that the first step is to attack the problem head-on, the opposite is actually true.  In order to address problems in the world and discover a solution we must look internally rather than externally.  The problem is in each of us.  The problem is not others.  The problem is inside of us. Only by addressing the problem within each of us will we find the origin of our current world issues.  We will also discover that by finding the origin of our problem we also find the origin of the solution.  God created the world we live in upon the spirit of shalom.  The world was created for balance, harmony, unity, self-sustainence and comprehensive blessing.

When we compare our imperfections with the harmony of the created order, we will be pointed in the right direction of fixing what is broken and healing what is sick.  In Jesus Christ exists the fulfillment and revitalization of the created order.  In Jesus Christ there is hope that change WILL happen and that it CAN start today.  In Jesus Christ there is no longer fear, there is no longer hunger, there is no longer injustice.  No fear, because Jesus conquered the threat of fear by overcoming the thing we fear the most, death.  No hunger, because the words of God illuminated by the Holy Spirit sustain us daily, even when our physical bodies endure weakness and pain.  No injustice, because the injustice we perceive is actually just punishment for our undeniable sin, and true injustice is revealed in the perfect God accused, mocked and murdered upon a cross as a condemned criminal in the face of cheers and jeers from a guilty crowd.  We want change.  So does God.  The question is, are we willing to inherit and adopt God’s heart for change? or do we look upon Jesus and say, “I’ve found a better way”?

 

Tuesday Devotional: Lamentations 1

bibleRead Lamentations 1 here.

In a world that gets faster every day, where we meet in person less and less frequently, we can’t help but realize the quality of conversations and relationships have begun to suffer at the hands of our obsession with speed and convenience.  The word “friend” has been reduced to any person you encounter, digitally or otherwise.  The word “love” has been reduced to something we say about anything from cheese to our spouse.  Relationships have likewise been reduced to a series of relatively short-lived, predictable conversations, where little to nothing real is ever shared.

If you listened in on some of these empty conversations, you might come to believe that no one is suffering or experiencing setbacks, because “it’s all good.”  We are willing in these relationships to keep things positive even at the expense of overlooking the hard times we are experiencing.  The truth is that all of us are struggling in some way or another, and all of us are looking for answers.  The world tells us that keeping the hard times to ourselves is usually the best option. The God of the Bible takes a different approach to our suffering.  God not only knows that we suffer, but he understands that getting grief and pain out of our system is integral in moving toward resolution.

In times of trouble a true friend will not just give you any advice, but will simply sit with you and listen.  In these moments, when the thoughts of our hearts are out in the open, we can view them in the same way a detective lays evidence out and begins to connect the dots.  God has the human heart down to a science. He knows that only after we confront the realities of our distress can we speak our minds, whether in frustration, anger, confusion or pain, in order to find the connections, and finally find a way out.