Read Lamentations 5
Focus on verse 21
I have always been intrigued by the way some people are able to take an old run down automobile that appears to be one step short of scrap metal, and with great care and patience restore what looks to me like a piece of junk back to its original condition. I cannot imagine the patience and tenacity it must take to carefully pull it all apart, and then track down, or in some cases rebuild, the missing or broken parts, taking care to repaint and re-chrome each piece before reassembling it. Many of these projects take years to complete, but when it is finished, it is truly a work of art. It is the kind of project where one does not typically enter into it expecting to make a profit. Most often this type of project costs much more to complete than the finished product will ever be worth, yet people continue to do it. It becomes apparent then that artisans of this caliber are not in to make money, and if not why do they do it? I suspect that in most cases it is the joy and fulfillment they get out of the process of doing it that motivates them to continue. In some however, it is that there is some special attachment, some connection that they have with the vehicle they are restoring.
In today’s reading the writer of Lamentations pleads with God to restore His people. He longs for the days of old to be renewed when God was worshiped with joy and praise in the glorious temple that now lay in ruins. I will never forget the words of my father-in-law several months after mother-in-law passed away; he said, “Why is that that we so rarely realize the treasure we have until we find ourselves without it.” I don’t believe he was expressing any major regrets as much as he was just observing how readily we take each other for granted.
It would seem that this is perhaps in part what happened to Israel. They assumed that God would always be there for them, and began to take Him for granted, forgetting that He had given them His word that when they chose to abandon Him, they would be choosing to bear the consequences of that choice. Lamentations expresses the loss that the people remember what they had when they were following the Lord.
I am grateful for the times that the Lord reminds me of what I have in Him – particularly when I begin to drift. Apart from God – I have nothing! With Him I have everything I need! That is the bottom line. When I lose sight of this truth – I begin to drift, I subtly begin to act as though I might be able to handle this thing called life on my own. Typically it does not take long for reality to remind me that this is not a good idea. I need restoration – every day! Renewal – every day! His mercies are new every morning for a reason… I need a new dose – every morning…and sometimes again in the afternoon. The cool part is – God never runs out of mercy! He is always ready to dish out another plateful to anyone who genuinely seeks it.