Wong Fong Yang
Why do some people go through hard times and emerge stronger in faith in God, while others lose faith in God?
The key learning from Lamentations:
It is okay to complain and protest against God. It is possible to be angry at God and still keep faith with God.
If you don't lament, your heart shuts down. Lament enables us to connect with God. Without lament, we become cynical or cut off from God.
Jeremiah is on the verge of collapse. What are the areas we can lament? Which among the nine ways do we identify with?
1. God no longer guides. He opposes
2. Turns us into skin and bones. 3, 4
3. Hemmed in with bitterness and unending hardship. 5
4. Dead silence from God. He shuts out my lprayer. For his prophetic word, he was imprisoned in total darkness. 6-9
5. Ripped apart and struggling alone
6. Pierced by arrows, butt of their jokes
7. Bitter with wormwood
8. Life is so hard. Kicked on front teeth.
9. No more future. My splendor is gone
We feel the terrible range of emotions. The circumstances have not changed.
But what has changed for Jeremiah is... perspective. What helps us gain a new perspective?
Perspective pivots on lamentations 3:22-23
God's great love is new every morning.
God has a tender caring love and embrace of a mother. God has always loved unconditionally.
God's compassions are renewed, again and again.
What have you experienced? Have you experienced little mercies?
When you are down and depressed...
Recall of your understanding of God's character.
Notice the present compassion God is showing you
And we can continue to complain and lament to God. We can even share our doubts to God.
Some sufferings do not seem to end eg cancer, terminal disease.
But one day all sufferings will end. There is a new heaven and earth.
The current reality is there is no healing. It's painful to see her suffer.
My hope in Him does not waver. He is faithful and he will always be faithful.
Lord there is a huge gap between hope and reality. Yet you are worthy for us to give our whole life to you.
We may and will never understand why certain things happen to us. It could be deserved suffering. Or undeserved suffering (due to the consequences of the sin of others).
But we don't turn our back from God. We draw strength from his character. He forgives sin. He grants grace.
Jesus is the source of how we see God. At the cross he gave his life for us. He did not escape suffering. In his suffering, our sin and shame have been covered by his love and righteousness.
Two things to do while waiting in suffering
1. Place our hope in the Lord and seek him. 3:25
2. We wait quietly and patiently for the salvation of the Lord 3:24,26. This requires active resting.