I KEEP A GRIP ON HOPE!

When we worship God, we find hope no matter the current circumstances or feelings.  Great is Thy Faithfulness came to be from reading Lamentations 3!  Let us sing from our hearts right now!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with 10, 000 beside

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Jeremiah reveals his deep pain but still has “a grip on hope” that can only come from God.  The sufferings of the people and the destruction of the city and temple were the great causes of pain for Jeremiah. These tragic events would not have occurred if the people had listened to him and obeyed God’s will. Jeremiah had faithfully proclaimed God’s message for forty years, yet the nation had turned a deaf ear. But great is God’s faithfulness, mercies new each morning!

Lamentations 3, The Message

God Locked Me Up in Deep Darkness

1-I’m the man who has seen trouble,
    trouble coming from the lash of God’s anger.
He took me by the hand and walked me
    into pitch-black darkness.
Yes, he’s given me the back of his hand
    over and over and over again.

4-6 He turned me into a skeleton
    of skin and bones, then broke the bones.
He hemmed me in, ganged up on me,
    poured on the trouble and hard times.
He locked me up in deep darkness,
    like a corpse nailed inside a coffin.

7-9 He shuts me in so I’ll never get out,
    handcuffs my wrists, shackles my feet.
Even when I cry out and plead for help,
    he locks up my prayers and throws away the key.
He sets up blockades with quarried limestone.
    He’s got me cornered.

10-12 He’s a prowling bear tracking me down,
    a lion in hiding ready to pounce.
He knocked me from the path and ripped me to pieces.
    When he finished, there was nothing left of me.
He took out his bow and arrows
    and used me for target practice.

13-15 He shot me in the stomach
    with arrows from his quiver.
Everyone took me for a joke,
    made me the butt of their mocking ballads.

He forced rotten, stinking food down my throat,
    bloated me with vile drinks.

16-18 He ground my face into the gravel.
    He pounded me into the mud.
I gave up on life altogether.
    I’ve forgotten what the good life is like.
I said to myself, “This is it. I’m finished.
    God is a lost cause.”

It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God

19-21 I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
    to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
    to stick it out through the hard times.

28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
    go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
    Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
    The “worst” is never the worst.

31-33 Why? Because the Master won’t ever
    walk out and fail to return
.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
    His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
    in throwing roadblocks in the way:

34-36 Stomping down hard
    on luckless prisoners,
Refusing justice to victims
    in the court of High God,
Tampering with evidence—
    the Master does not approve of such things.

God Speaks Both Good Things and Hard Things into Being

37-39 Who do you think “spoke and it happened”?
    It’s the Master who gives such orders.
Doesn’t the High God speak everything,
    good things and hard things alike, into being?
And why would anyone gifted with life
    complain when punished for sin?

40-42 Let’s take a good look at the way we’re living
    and reorder our lives under God.
Let’s lift our hearts and hands at one and the same time,
    praying to God in heaven:
“We’ve been contrary and willful,
    and you haven’t forgiven.

43-45 “You lost your temper with us, holding nothing back.
    You chased us and cut us down without mercy.
You wrapped yourself in thick blankets of clouds
    so no prayers could get through.
You treated us like dirty dishwater,
    threw us out in the backyard of the nations.

46-48 Our enemies shout abuse,
    their mouths full of derision, spitting invective.
We’ve been to hell and back.
    We’ve nowhere to turn, nowhere to go.
Rivers of tears pour from my eyes
    at the smashup of my dear people.

49-51 “The tears stream from my eyes,
    an artesian well of tears,
Until you, God, look down from on high,
    look and see my tears.
When I see what’s happened to the young women in the city,
    the pain breaks my heart.

52-54 “Enemies with no reason to be enemies
    hunted me down like a bird.
They threw me into a pit,
    then pelted me with stones.
Then the rains came and filled the pit.
    The water rose over my head. I said, ‘It’s all over.’

55-57 “I called out your name, O God,
    called from the bottom of the pit.
You listened when I called out, ‘Don’t shut your ears!
    Get me out of here! Save me!’
You came close when I called out.
    You said, ‘It’s going to be all right.’

58-60 “You took my side, Master;
    you brought me back alive!
God, you saw the wrongs heaped on me.
    Give me my day in court!
Yes, you saw their mean-minded schemes,
    their plots to destroy me.

61-63 “You heard, God, their vicious gossip,
    their behind-my-back plots to ruin me.
They never quit, these enemies of mine, dreaming up mischief,
    hatching malice, day after day after day.
Sitting down or standing up—just look at them!—
    they mock me with vulgar doggerel.

64-66 “Make them pay for what they’ve done, God.
    Give them their just deserts.
Break their miserable hearts!
    Damn their eyes!
Get good and angry. Hunt them down.
    Make a total demolition here under your heaven!”

WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?

We sing a new song today because of God’s Son, Jesus, who is our Hope, Redeemer and Lord of our lives.  Matt Redman wrItes and sings a similar song of hope through the faithfulness of God:

You Never Let Go

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me…

Believe, Repent, Be saved with Hope for life eternal.

In Jesus Name, Amen!  I believe!

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me
Oh, You never let go, You never let go

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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