Articles and thoughts by Steve Green.
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.” Lamentations 3:19-24
Most caring Father, another day and another fresh batch of your mercies greet me, even before sunrise. You are simply astonishing! I gladly join Jeremiah in calling to mind your great love and your great faithfulness. In fact, I’m in a far better position to do so than he was. For Jeremiah lived looking forward to the coming of Jesus and the fulfillment of the promises of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). But I live on this side of that blessed event. How much quicker should I be to praise you, and how much greater should my hope be?
Lord Jesus, the only reason I’m not consumed by God’s just judgment against my sin is because you were judged and consumed in my place on the cross. God has forgiven all my wickedness and will never remember my sins against me, (Jer. 31:34), because you became sin for me, (2 Cor. 5:21). Thus, I look at you and loudly proclaim, “The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jer. 33:16), the Lord, my righteousness!
Father, it’s because of this gospel, this good news, that I also join Jeremiah in remembering and lamenting my wanderings. Though I have the blessed assurance that one Day I will never ever be tempted again to sin, that Day in is the future. This side of that Day, honesty keeps this song on my lips, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” If that’s not insanity, I don’t know what is. Indeed, sin is quintessential craziness.
So, Abba, Father, when I lose gospel-sanity and my heart wanders away, even for a moment, make the gall more galling, make the bitterness more bitter, make downcast feel even more downcast. I don’t want to ever get used to being disconnected from you and the gospel.
In view of your steadfast love and fresh mercies for me in Jesus today, I also join Jeremiah in saying, “The LORD is my portion.” I will wait for you, my God. So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ name.
(Scotty Smith is Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church, Franklin, TN, the church Marijean and I have been a part of for 20 years)
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