Here in the middle of the Bible, we find a book that is unlike many others. This book is Lamentations where Jerimiah has written about the desolation of Judah and how he and the people are dealing with this destruction. If you were looking for a book to build you up this may not be the place you need to look. Why then is this book of sorrow left in the bible?
He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.
I believe this book remained as it is a way to work through grief. Many biblical figures have been upset with how God has dealt with them. How they all move forward from this has been wide and ranged but each one demonstrates the results of the attitude of our hearts. Here in Lamentations, Jerimiah and the people of Israel are experiencing the devastation, they don’t see the whole picture and what the are experiencing is all there is. As the reader, we see what the past, present and future was for the people who were called by God. We know that this moment in their nation’s history had been foretold and expected due to their inability to stay focused on the God who promised to fulfil all their needs. But at the moment just like our lives we only see what is happening now. Many might diagnose Jeremiah as depressed or have some form of PTSD when he wrote this, and you probably might be correct. Mental illness has been around since the beginning of mankind just how we deal with it is changing.
Jerimiah in writing this as a prophet of God was feeling hurt with all this disaster happening all around. He himself was probably feeling like he had failed the people, other prophets of the past didn’t deal with this Elijah and Elisha, only remembering the miracles and not the trials they experienced. When we look at others and compare ourselves to only their accomplishments and deeds we always will fall shorts. If I was to compare my writings to that of another famous Christian writer I would be discouraged too. I could ask why my following isn’t as large. Yet I don’t so that God will be lifted up. I believe those who read my words are those who need to be reading them and God will use me to reach a few or reach many. So in Jerimiah’s thinking of his life, God had failed him. Even in 5:20 we see him asking God why He has forgotten them. Jerimiah had forgotten that God is always there.
Do you feel today that God has abandoned you? Maybe you feel that all hope is lost and at this moment in time, you are only looking at the situation you are in. We need to expand our view and look at what God has done in the past, what He is doing now and what He has promised He will do. Living in the moment and focusing on our troubles is what can lead us down a path of depression. Expecting that God will change things up, that He is in control and that He holds the future in His hand will be a game changer in your life. God loves you in the good times and the bad and wants to use those experiences to strengthen you.
Father, someone reading this might be going through one of these hard depressing times in their lives. I pray even as the read this they will see you through the storm. They will reach out to you and see what you have done for them in the past, what you are doing for them and what you have promised them. Holy Spirit surrounds them and empower them to overcome this time of depression, let life surge through their veins and destroy any thoughts that could be destructive. Raise them up to be mighty warriors and lead the charge to reach others who are in the same situations. Free them so they are able to help free others. Amen