One of Satan’s great schemes is to make believers think that God has betrayed them or abandoned them. This technique works particularly well when we find ourselves in times of difficulty. God in His sovereign purposes may allow us to go through times of difficulty because He knows that trials can produce in us great character and perseverance (James 1:2-4). Satan wants us to believe, however, that our suffering is an indication that God is no longer faithful. He wants us to think that God doesn’t care, that God doesn’t know, or that God wants to make our lives miserable. His objective is to shift our allegiance from God to him, which we do when we turn our back upon God in bitterness and disappointment.
Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations, which contains his laments over the state of the people of Israel and over the pain, rejection, and difficulty that he suffered. Jeremiah was faithful, but his ministry was an utter failure in terms of results. No one listened to his preaching, no one cared, and no one repented. He took a lot of flack and was severely persecuted, all for the sake of being faithful to God’s Word. Speaking of this hurt and frustration, he says in Lamentations 3:19, “Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me.” Jeremiah had great faith, but he had many rough times. He recalled his affliction, his wandering, his alienation, his rejection, and the bitterness and grief that just weighed his soul down. How could Jeremiah continue on with these weights and burdens? He made a decision to be faithful despite the difficulty. He chose not to believe that God was mean, cruel, or rejecting him, but He recalled to mind the truth about God that He knew.
He says in verse 21, “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.” Many people wander this earth without hope, fearing death and even the next moments to come. Sadly, even Christians can get to the point where they become so focused on themselves and their circumstances that they lose sight of the faithfulness of God. The only way to keep our faith strong and be faithful to God is to remember and hold fast to the fact that, even when we are not faithful, God abides faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). Our hope rests in the never-changing and always faithful character of God Who cannot deny His own faithfulness. He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). This is what Jeremiah chose to believe, despite what his body felt, despite what his intellect reasoned, and despite where his emotions were pulling him. In his heart, he desired God above all else, turning toward Him in the time of his struggle rather than running from Him. The way to keep hope alive is to keep our eyes upon God. Isaiah 26:3 says, “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in you.” We don’t keep ourselves stable in unstable times by relying upon coping mechanisms or raw physical and mental toughness. When life takes its toll, we can be faithful if we keep believing in the One Who is faithful. He will never abandon us or let us go.
Jeremiah declared his convictions about God’s faithfulness in verse 22 saying, “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’” Jeremiah came daily to the overflowing and everlasting reservoir of God’s mercy, love, and faithfulness. God is always compassionate, looking down with love upon His dear and precious children. Every day and for every trial, God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). We always have what we need in our faithful God (Philippians 4:19).
Jeremiah tells us what we need to stand on every day in verses 25 and 26, saying, “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the LORD.” If we are really seeking after God, we can rest assured that, though God might allow suffering into our lives for a purpose, He is good through and through, not wanting to do us harm but only good. God is good all the time, no matter what Satan tries to tell us. Jeremiah had it right, understanding the goodness of God, and that is why he was able to persevere in faithfulness, fulfilling his ministry. Suffering does come. Indeed, 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” The blessing is that we can even have joy in these times. Whether we are in times of peace and prosperity or times of struggle, feeling like we’re just barely hanging on, God is faithful. He never leaves His people even if they become bitter towards Him.
Our God is the giver of all good things. As James 1:17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above.” Satan doesn’t give any good gifts. When difficulty comes, let us remain faithful, by waiting upon and trusting in our God Who is faithful and Who always will be.
There is no better place to be than in the loving arms of God and in the shadow of the Almighty. God is good and faithful, at all times and in all circumstances. We can rest secure in our perfectly good and faithful God.