October 16, 2022

Lamentations: Finding Hope in Times of Deep Sorrow

Speaker: David Jordan Series: Journey Through the Bible Scripture: Lamentations 1:1– 5:22

Download the Lamentations Bible Journal Outline

Open your Bibles if you would to the book of Lamentations. Preaching a series where we go book by book through the Bible. We just sung the theology of Lamentations this morning. We read about it, not purposefully planning it, as Psalm 137 was read this morning. And yet that's how God works. He works all things together for the good of those who love him and those who are called according to his purpose. And he brings about glory for himself in ways that we could never even imagine.

Lamentations is about finding hope in times of deep sorrow. And this is a skill, it is also a determination that we need to learn as a people. How do we suffer biblically? What does that look like? We all have times of great sorrow and deep despair. Some things that linger on for our entire lives that we remember, sad memories. Other times, sadness comes and goes, and it's overwhelmed by happiness and joy and laughter. Lamentations follows the book of Jeremiah and it is about the destruction and the fall of Jerusalem, which was prophesied many times in Scripture.

The names Hiroshima and Nagasaki are familiar to you. In my mind, it conjures up images of the death of a whole city. On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in an effort to force the surrender of Japan in World War Two. They refused. Three days later, on August 9, the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Within one mile, everything was incinerated. Buildings and all. Within three miles was an incredible amount of devastation. While a fire storm swept almost 10 miles, in a radius. It was not a pretty sight. Hundreds of thousands are estimated to have died between those two, and Japan surrendered knowing that the United States was prepared to do even more.

What you may or may not know is Nagasaki was not the primary target. On that second run, a city called Kokura was, forgive me if I'm saying the name wrong. Yet weather did not permit the pilot of the B29 bomber to make a visual confirmation of the city. So, they diverted from Kokura to the second target, which was Nagasaki. I believe there are some, I don't know that they're wrong, who believe that we are, in a sense, like Kokura. The bombers have been sent, yet they are diverted for a time. God is giving us chance after chance after chance, an opportunity to follow him and to live for him. And yet, many times we reject those offers. Maybe tomorrow? Which is normally the devil's plan.

Lamentations is written about the death of a city, like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, except that it was God bringing the destruction through the Babylonians. Not U.S. President Harry S. Truman. From Jeremiah's vantage point we get an insider's view, how unpleasant it may be, into the destruction of Zion – the future hope of God's people. I've never heard a sermon on Lamentations, and as I give it, maybe this is your first as well. But if you listen carefully, you will learn how to have hope in the midst of immense and deep sorrow. You will equip yourself with the knowledge to be able to help others who are going through deep-rooted trials. And so, I think this is important for us to consider.

If you have your outline journal there, with this sobering picture on the front, of the whole city on fire. You can see the themes of Lamentations, of God's love and his faithfulness, which we just sung about. You'll see the theme of biblical mourning and grief, and of hope. Overall, the structure of Jeremiah is pretty astounding. I don't know that there's another book like it in all of Scripture. It's really a book comprised of five poems. Each chapter is a poem, and each chapter is an acrostic, relating to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Although specifically the fifth chapter, because I know you wanted to know, is not a Hebrew acrostic but it does have 22 lines. Sorry, I love those details. Poems often express grief. The third chapter, as you'll see in your Bible is made up of 66 verses. It is the sum total, the climax. of the book of Lamentations. Chapter three being twice as long as the others. In context, Jeremiah is the accepted author, though it's not stated exactly who wrote Jeremiah, though we do have in other portions of Scripture, a quote that Jeremiah once wrote a lament for Josiah. So, it's pretty accepted that he based on all of the things he observes from the first person was the only one who would have been able to comprise this account.

When was it written? Well, we have a historical knowledge, an exact timeline, of when Jerusalem was fallen, around 586 BC. Shortly after the city was destroyed by Babylon, is when we think Jeremiah wrote this account. We're going to go over two major sections today, two main themes, if you will. One is: How did the people get there and what did it look like? And then: How are they to have hope in the midst of such a thing?

So, in order to understand the greatness and the magnitude of the hope, we have to understand the greatness and the magnitude of the sorrow that comprises Jeremiah. But I also want to give you kind of the mindset of the people. You see, they loved their city. And this was not what you and I would call patriotism, it far surpasses that. It was the sentiment that God's people were untouchable. That they were untouchable because they were God's people. Many nations make this mistake, thinking they are untouchable. The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Romans, the Mongols, USSR, Britain, USA, the list goes on and on, right? The nations that think they are untouchable in their heydays. It’s as if we trust in our power and land more than our God, and yet, that is exactly what the people of Jerusalem did, more specifically the people of Zion – that is, the city of David.

You see, the city itself was the proposed epicenter of God's work in the world. If you were in Jerusalem, you were blessed of God. You were blessed of God. In this city was God's people, the temple, the worship, the sacrifices. The very presence of God represented over the mercy seat and the holy of holies, over the Ark of the Covenant with the two cherubim where their wings came together. That is where we know that God met with his people. Their land was given to them by God. The bank gave you your land, most likely. But their land was given to them by God, which he had miraculously helped them secure. They could look around and everything reminded them that they were the very precious people of God. The existence of their city and their land, and their security was proof of their special place with God. They were special. They were chosen. One commentator says the city was intertwined into God's promises into the nation, to its king and to the world.

Think about that. They were the ones who were the protectors of the truth. If you wanted to know God, you could go to the city of Jerusalem and you could read the scrolls. You could read the inspired words of God, the One who created all things, the one whose breath that we breathe, the one who sustains life and takes away. You could go there, you couldn't go anywhere else for this. Jeremiah, in chapter seven, even spoke of this interwoven relationship. Let me read it for you Jeremiah 7:5-7 says, “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your forefathers, forever.”

God promised them a king, which would reign from the line of David, in their city. He would rule on the throne of Jerusalem forever. Israel was commanded in the Old Testament, from wherever they were dispersed, from whatever lands they lived in, that they should come back to this city, three times a year, to sacrifice and to worship. Where did they go? To Zion, specifically, that relates to the City of David. And to Jerusalem, where the people dwelled, both inside the walls and outside, as they farmed the lands. So surely, no matter what we've done, God would not remove his people from his land. That's the mentality that they had. And I think because they understood that truth, that they were in the land that God gave them. They used it as a license to sin. Today, we call that the Free Grace Movement. “God understands. I trust in him. I'm going to sin no matter what. And it'll just all work out in the end.” And while you are right, it will “work out in the end,” but not the way you think.

And see, Jeremiah knew this. And he was called by God, as we learned last week, raised up and sent out to the people. There may be a time in your life, where you're the only one who champions a truth. But I pray your legs and your voice will not fail. Jeremiah wrote this book, to really lament a nation. It was a pivot point, if you will. It was a huge shift in how God would not only interact with his people, but with the world.

Look in Lamentations 1:1. Notice how Jeremiah personifies the city as a person, this is very personal to them. “How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave.” The nation, we don't really talk about the United States in that way. Right? We talk of maybe Lady Liberty or something like that, maybe a notion or principle that the nation lives by, but we don't really talk about the nation, as someone who has become a slave. Or someone who was a princess or a nation that is lonely. But that's exactly how Jeremiah portrays it. Jeremiah tells of the destruction and the destruction was ruthless. We must hear this. Before you decide to check out, and you know, think about which bounce house you're going to encourage your spouse to go in this afternoon.

I think we need to hear this because we tend to think a couple of things. One is that, my problems are bigger than yours. We all think that. We all tend at times like, no one has walked in my shoes. You should be thankful you haven't walked in Jeremiah's shoes. We tend to think that our problems are bigger than everyone else's. Or no one can understand my pain. No one has gone through the depths of sorrow that I have gone through. So how could they ever have an encouraging word for me? Well, just think about where you derive your truth and your authority from. If it comes from God's Word, and God's word is preached, and God's Word speaks to encouragement for you. Then, he who speaks God's Word has an encouragement for you.

Please hear what they went through. So that you may also gain joy and the hope that they found. One commentator describes the destruction like this, it says “The siege and ensuing destruction of Jerusalem would have demolished Israel's original perception of their city and their life. Like Assyria, Babylon was vicious in its military conquests, torturing citizens and the rulers of rebellious cities...” (Remember what happened Zedekiah and his family? His family was killed, and then they poked his eyes out. So that was the last thing he saw.) “…They were impaled, they were decapitated. The strategy for conquest was not merely physical, it was psychological. It was to aim at this very stability and foundations of the principles by which their city operated and if you cut those out, everyone would be demoralized.”

Biblical descriptions attest that Jerusalem experienced all of these terrors, and they were in great shock. Lamentations 1:2, and I promise we will speed up in a little bit. “She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies.” Have you ever had a friend become your enemy? It hurts, doesn't it? It's painful. Selfishness reigns supreme. Culture really invites us to be prideful, to pat ourselves on the back. When I worked in LA, we would have parties for the company. I called them the “pat yourself on the back” parties. Look how amazing we are.

One commentator talks about Jerusalem in this way, “It's that the author here mourns for Jerusalem's judgment and rejection by God.” You see that in Lamentations 2:1-4. There are children literally starving in the streets, and there's nothing their parents can do about it. Young and old lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem at this time, and there's nothing they can do about it. The city of ultimate beauty became the city that symbolized ultimate destruction. They became the great mockery of all the nations around them. They even rejoiced at times in Lamentations, it says. The thing that we desired has finally come to pass. Jerusalem is no more. But was this Babylon’s cause? Or was it God's? Look in verse 14 of chapter one. Because I think we also are very scared to attribute causes like this to God. Yes, God used the Babylonians, who yes, wanted to ransack the whole world. But notice they had ransacked most of the world, except this area, this tiny little area. Assyria tried to do it and they were repelled by Sennacherib. God sent an angel and destroyed them. You can read this on the Sennacherib Stone, which is a stone you can actually look at. If you could read the words, you could see that the conquest was utterly defeated, and they returned home to Nineveh (the capital of Assyria) never, ever, ever to bother little tiny Jerusalem again.

So who was behind all these things? And then Babylon conquered Assyria. And now Babylon comes for Jerusalem. Lamentations 1:14, “My transgressions were bound into a yoke; by his hand they were fastened together; they were set upon my neck; he caused my strength to fail; the Lord gave me into the hands of those whom I cannot withstand.” T he Lord has done this. Does that fit into your theology? Does that fit into your understanding of the vastness of God? This is just God doing what he promised, right? Lamentations 1:21, “…All my enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad you have done it.” Do we want God to keep his word? “This is a trick question, Pastor Dave, but I'm gonna say, ‘yes.’” Yes, we do want God to keep his Word. And if you read Leviticus chapter 26, or Deuteronomy chapter 28, you're going to see God was simply keeping his Word. “If you obey me, I will have these blessings.” And he repelled all these nations which were stronger and mightier than little old Jerusalem and their clans. “But if you disobey me, judgment will come.”

And as you know from last week, they had finally worn out the patience of God, and destruction had come, and it was the Lord's doing. Look in Lamentations 2:7-8, “The Lord has scorned his altar, disowned his sanctuary; he has delivered into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they raised a clamor in the house of the LORD as on the day of festival. The LORD determined to lay in ruins the wall of the daughter of Zion; he stretched out the measuring line; he did not restrain his hand from destroying; he caused rampart and wall to lament; they languished together.”

Lamentations 2:17, “The LORD has done what he purposed; he has carried out his word…” Do we want God to keep his Word? Do we want God to follow through on the things that he has promised? Yes, we do. We do. It is part of his faithfulness, that he will not only carry out the blessings, which some churches only teach. (I would not call them churches, if that's all they teach.) But he also carries out the judgments and the punishments, even on his own people, even while they live. And normally what we do is we think, “Whew, I'm safe, I'm fine. I got my fire insurance ticket, and it's going to be bad for everyone else. But I'm good to go. Because, you know, God doesn't touch us here.” That doesn't stack up with Lamentations. Verse 21, of chapter two [Lamentations 2:21], “In the dust of the streets,” and this is kind of a heavy verse. “In the dust of the streets lie the young and the old; my young women and my young men have fallen by the sword; you have killed them in the day of your anger, slaughtering without pity.”

Remember Job? Remember Job? Right away in the first chapter, we learn of all the great things God has given. We saw all the things God took away. And what did Job say? Job 1:21, “Yahweh gave, and Yahweh has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” How does someone have hope like that? You say, “Yeah, but I know that but you know my situation. It's still somehow worse and I'm going to cling on to that.” Friend, will you not give up trying to say no one has suffered more than you and rejoiced in it? We have to give up this mantra. You may be in a time of deep distress and grief. And it may be deep and it may be grievous. But that does not mean that someone else cannot be a balm to your soul with the Word of God.

Jeremiah in chapter three personalizes this grief, Lamentations 3:2-3. Notice how personal this gets with Jeremiah, who was righteous and proclaimed God's Words. He said, “he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.” You ever had one of those bad days, and then the next day is bad, and the next day is bad. And it just seems like, who is fighting against me? Well, Jeremiah is in a place where he knows it's God who is making his day bad and awful. But I want to tell you, it's okay to grieve. Without a doubt, it is okay to grieve. This is why he's writing this lament, this very purposeful book, that is written in this wonderful poetry. It's a chiastic structure, if you want to look that up. It's just this amazing structure that climaxes in chapter three and then reduces or regresses itself over the last two chapters. But we can grieve evil for being evil.

Zachariah 7:5 indicates that the people when they were deported to Babylon, they actually grieved and mourned their loss of the city, at least twice a year, for 70 years. As a remembrance to where they had come from and to where they would want to go. Lamentations 3:8 says, “though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.” [Lamentations 3:15] “He has filled me with bitterness…” We were talking this morning in a class about how to study the Bible. And we're talking about the Analogy of Scripture, that Scripture interprets Scripture. That it won't contradict itself and the great need for understanding how God deals with his people. And that was the mistake of Job's friends, they thought they understood and they thought they knew Scripture, but they misapplied the very theology they espoused. And here, “God has filled me with bitterness.” This is the thing that he has brought on me, and this is from him. Therefore, he filled me with this. Does that fit our theology? Is God allowed to follow through with his ability to punish? Is he allowed to do that?

Lamentations 3:16, “He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes.” Listen to this, “my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope [from Yahweh] from the LORD.’” He is as low as it gets. And no, it doesn't stay there. But he's as low as it gets. He's forgotten what happiness is. He's forgotten any notion of peace in his life. Sometimes our minds are just so consumed with life that it's difficult to have a peaceful moment. Have you ever been there? Maybe this is you right now. Or maybe this is someone you know, that they just seem unhappy all the time. There's just no joy in them. And their situation is easily difficult to see. You don't have to stay in that place. You don't have to stay in the place of deep despair. You don't have to stay in this constant cycle of gloom and doom in your mind.

And I don't think that anyone's been in the place where Jeremiah is. Maybe you've been in war and maybe you've been a POW. I don't know. Maybe things have been incredibly dark and desolate, spiritually even, with no way out. But remember, the only One who can help Jeremiah is the One who put him there. He's all out, he's completely empty. And I just want to tell you, if you're completely empty, that is the perfect place to be for God to fill you up. When you've come to your wit's end, that is the very place where you will find the strength, the sobering strength of God. You will find the very mercy that he promises. Look in verse 21. And this is where hope is found.

[Lamentations 3:21] “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.’”

Follow me now. Jeremiah recalls what? He recalls the truth about God. He does not say, “This is all going to go away and everything's going to be fine.” He recalls that God is loving and merciful, and that God is faithful. Friends, this is where you need to go in times of deep sorrow. To the truth about God, himself. We're going to go over three of those truths. One, that God is loving. He is steadfast. This is profound coming from Jeremiah in great catastrophe. Just as God's justice is active, so is his love. So is his love. They could see the hand of punishment, and they longed for his love.

Has God ever brought you to the place where he disciplines you? Well, the Bible says that God disciplines those whom he loves. So if he hasn't, then you're in the minority, in a scary minority. But if God has disciplined you, humbled you, put you in your place. It is so that you can rightly worship the God who is worthy of all praise. The punishment was not just punishment for punishments sake. And yes, it was punishment. But it brought about the idea that they should turn from everything they have done as a nation, for the last 400 years. And even the last 1,500 years, that they should turn from that, that that does not produce the desire and the outcome that they want. This is the outcome it brings: Jeremiah and Lamentations, and we'll see more later in some of the Minor Prophets, just what was going on inside these walls, during that time. It does not bring that about.

But friends, knowing and understanding the love of God, does. Even in exile, God's love would continue. And this shows that God takes sin seriously. That he will indeed punish sin. And maybe even in this life, and rightly so. But God will also bring good to those who love him, rightly so. You see, by preserving an undeserving remnant, God demonstrated his love for them. God demonstrated that when we have exhausted all of his patience, and yes, there would be a time of chastising. He promised them they would return 70 years later, and they did. He even blessed the ones who survived in Babylon, and they prospered in Babylon and it took a long time for them to actually want to return. But how does his love arrive? How do we soak in his love?

Lamentations 3:25, says this, “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” We must patiently wait even in trial and grief to allow God's love to saturate us to sustain us, actively. It's like the spouse whose husband is deployed, she longs for him to return. She longs to be with him. And you see those videos of the one in active military duty has been deployed for a long time. And they show when they come home and they surprise the family and the little kids run to their dad or their mom. And it's that kind of longing, the waiting is worth it. It's not just waiting for waiting’s sake. It's waiting because there is something better on the way. It’s like the young single person wanting a spouse, must be patient and not rush the will of the Lord. Like a spouse who wants their marriage to grow and be strong and beautiful, we must wait.

But waiting doesn't mean we do nothing. We must cling to the truth of Scripture and allow it to permeate our minds and our hearts, to show us how to live. Even though what we wait for has not yet arrived, we still trust in the rock of our salvation. We trust in the finished work of Christ, that he has saved us though we are undeserving. And I would encourage you if you don't know Jesus Christ, what are you waiting for? The future is not bright. But with Jesus Christ, there is complete forgiveness of sin, the past, the present, the future. I implore you, give yourself to God, receive salvation from him, and let him change you from the inside out.

You say, “But I don't feel like it.” That's why you need [to be] changed. You say, “I got these different feelings that I want to act on.” Well, when God saves you, he gives you a new nature, he changes you completely. This is the Gospel that we love. That Jesus, himself, is enough. We must always remember what Lamentations 3:31-32 says. It’s a bright ray of light, that “the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.”

Friends, if he would do this, for those rightly under the judgment of God for their sin, how much more will he give his abundant and steadfast love to those who have not transgressed as those in Jerusalem did? When you are tempted to doubt God's love, turn to him in patience, and remember his character. We must allow God to work in us as we await his work in others. But remember it is Jesus Christ on whom we put our hope.

God is also loving, and he is also merciful. Lamentations 3:22, “…his mercies never come to an end.” Mercy is compassion, or pity on someone, who is undeserving and it is something that you withhold from them – they deserve retribution – but you are merciful, so you do not give it. Friends, God's compassion never ends. What blows my mind about the book of Lamentations, is that Jeremiah said that. Sitting, when he could look out the windows – and you know we have trees and there's food out there. And you know we have all of these wonderful things to remind us of God and who he is – that wasn't the view Jeremiah had out his window. Could God be merciful, even in this situation? There was only one that we know of that didn't deserve this great punishment and it fell on even him.

See God withholds the wrath that we all deserve every moment, every second, of every day. And if you're in Christ, he withholds it forever. Fully satisfying his wrath that he will pour out on everyone who does not know him, who has not received salvation by grace through faith, it will be poured out. And if you are a believer, it has already been paid for through Jesus Christ. Malachi 3:6 says, “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” That's why we can trust that God will act in his justice, he will act in his mercy because he does not change. And we do deserve to be consumed. In his mercy, he's planned a full restoration for Israel. The land promises have not been fulfilled to Israel yet. And you can now see how important those land promises were. They were the most sinful of nations. But yet that's where God put his work for his people is in that specific location.

If you're wondering how to begin responding to great trial, it starts with accepting the will of God. Not just thinking about it, but fully accepting it. That's where Jeremiah was. He accepted everything that came from the hand of the Lord, the good and the bad, the happy and the grief. And the sooner that you and I come to grips with that, the sooner you and I will have a stable Christian life. You may be under the discipline of God right now. You might be simply in a sad time of life where the best thing in your life is a good dinner. You may still need to accept the will of God. But I can promise you that God is worth it.

Lamentations 3:37-40 says, “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should a living man [there's that word] complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!” There is a call over and over and over again that God is just and we must turn to him. There is nothing greater that you need to consider than that.

Dear friends, as we think about how we treat other people, we must consider that when others sin against us, it is good to be merciful as God is merciful. That though they might deserve to be punished for their sins, we should consider the very work of God in not completely annihilating these people. So, God is loving, God is merciful. And third, God is faithful. Verse 23 [Lamentations 3:23], “…great is your faithfulness.” Did you know that was the context of that song that you sing so many times over and over and over again? It's Lamentations chapter three, right in the midst of all these things. Because I know when I used to sing that song I’d think, “Wow, yeah, great is thy faithfulness, days are good, job is good, relationships are good, everything's good. God is faithful.” But that’s not the context of that. Relationships are bad, job is bad, everything's bad. God is faithful. That's the context. Is that the God that you serve? Is there somehow deep rooted within you an understanding that no matter what happens, God is enough.

See, God's love extends to the heavens and his faithfulness to the clouds, Psalm 36:5. See, when we need a drink of water, God gives us a well that never runs dry. And I just want to ask, are you drinking from the well? If your lips are parched, and you feel like you're running on empty, run to the Lord Jesus Christ. Get a refreshing drink and when you've had one, get a second refreshing drink. Don't go so often between these times. When someone is broken, God makes them stronger. He doesn't just help them limp along. See, I think sometimes we doubt just how faithful God is. It's almost like we would need forgiveness constantly in our life, but God has given it fully and completely once. Something so undeserving, but something so compassionate for us.

You say, “Yeah, but I'm unfaithful all the time.” Well, when God calls you to repentance, do you repent? Do you turn to the Lord? The only time you have assurance of salvation is when you are walking with the Lord. In your unfaithfulness, the fruit points to someone whose heart is not aligned with God. But when you're called to repentance, and you turn from God and you say, “God, I shouldn't have done that. I shouldn't have said that. I know I brought dishonor on you, when I should have glorified you. I should have thought of you more than myself. Lord God, please forgive me.” He gives it completely. Romans 3:3-4, “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true…”

Friends, we have to push beyond just a mere knowledge of God into an utter dependence on him. We have to push into his love and mercy and faithfulness. So that in these deep times of trouble and sorrow, we know where to go, we know who to turn to. And we need to know the Word of God so well, that we can just recall, in a moment's notice, examples of his love and faithfulness and mercy.

Let me end with this, Lamentations 3:21-24. Let me read it again and just soak it in.

“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.’”

Let's pray. Father God, we need courage to follow you. And we need courage to trust in you. Lord God, I pray that you would light a fire in us to fully trust in your love, in your faithfulness, in your mercy, in your character – in the midst of deep trials and deep sorrow. Lord God, help us to be compassionate to those who are mourning right now. May we mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep.

Father God, strengthen our legs, steel up our minds, that we may live for you and you alone.

Friends, let's just take a moment to ask God to put our hope and our trust in him and not our circumstances.

Dear Lord God, in your compassion, please lead us. Convict those who need you, of their sin. May they turn to you this very day. And find the same hope that we have in you. In your precious Holy Name, Amen.

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