Let’s dive into Lamentations. A not-so-popular book of the Bible – one that we don’t typically get excited to read. It’s a little deep and harsh but, to me, the desolation that is described so closely mimics the reality of a broken home, a broken nation, and the broken world we live in.
Lamentations 1:2 New International Version (NIV)
2 Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is no one to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
they have become her enemies.
I believe, America, as a whole, is in a crisis of fallen marriages, broken homes, and relational poverty. WE all crave relationship. Whole relationships – with parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends. But we are each so broken we can’t make relationships work. We question the legitimacy of love, trust, and loyalty. We didn’t just arrive here because of one recent divorce.
Having lunch with a friend of mine earlier in the week, I was talking to her about how I got to where I was emotionally when I decided I was ready for divorce. I told her that we never get there in one step. We all start at our baseline. None of us wake up and set out to trash a marriage. BUT – one little step at time, we get pretty far from our baseline. Let’s say our baseline is at zero. If I step to the left to one, I’ve just stepped a little out of the way. Not far enough for anyone to notice or for me to feel terribly guilty about it. But then, a bit later, I step over to two. Because I had settled in at one, I still don’t see that two is a big step. This process goes on and on and on. One day, we look up and realize that we are on a hundred and miles from our baseline or what we set out to do. Does that make sense? I kind of see our culture that way today. Americans never set out to abolish the idea of true love or forever. They never intended to destroy families and generations. But little by little through each generation we have taken little steps from the baseline of how Christ wanted us to live and reap the benefits of His promises. When I look around, I am generations from the family relationships Christ intended for me to have. I can’t possibly operate out of the fullness He intended for me to have. Not without HIM.
I know as a divorcee, you probably do not want to be reminded of how we have each contributed to this crisis. But the reality is, if you look around you – at least half of the people you see have been damaged by divorce in some way. Maybe through their own divorce, that of their parents or even grandparents. Divorce leaves a legacy of brokenness behind us. So many of us are grieving what we thought was forever. We are weeping and lonely. Full of uncertainty inside and yet we don’t understand what keeps causing us to fall. A path of destruction that we never intended. And one that we MUST break. Through forgiveness and repentance we can change our legacy. Walking in relationship with God can completely fill us. We can learn to trust and love. We can pour that fullness into our children and generations that follow us. ONE STEP AT A TIME, WE CAN GET BACK TO OUR BASELINE. Who Christ created us to be.
In Lamentations, we see the fall of Jerusalem. It was in complete ruins. The people of Jerusalem had lived in sin. They had stepped way off the baseline they were given. God allowed terrible destruction, but not without compassion and hope for the future.
First, a little history on Lamentations for you – just so you’ll be able to get the context of it’s verses. Lamentations doesn’t say who wrote the book, but the general consensus is that it was Jeremiah the prophet. None-the-less, the author was present when the Babylonian Army captured Jerusalem and demolished Solomon’s temple in 586 B.C. He laments over the destruction and serious suffering of the people during the siege and the aftermath. The author was clearly a victim of this tragedy but also a spectator. Many of us are victims of our own divorce but also spectated the divorce of our parents or grandparents. Back to Lamentations…
/ˌlamənˈtāSH(ə)n/nounplural noun: lamentations
- the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping.“scenes of lamentation”
synonyms: weeping, wailing, crying, sobbing, moaning, lament, keening, grieving, mourning“the survivors’ lamentation”
- a book of the Bible telling of the desolation of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.singular proper noun: Lamentations; singular proper noun: Lamentations of Jeremiah; noun: Lamentations
Obviously, Lamentations is not the book we turn to for the quick pick-me-up scripture. However, within its pages we can find some powerful lessons about God and the truths that hold dominion over our lives. I think its important, as we walk through the steps to rebuild our lives after divorce, that we are honest with ourselves. Honest about what the Bible says regarding divorce and honest about things that we may have done to contribute to our divorce. And we’ve all done at least one thing that we could have done better. The scripture is very clear to me, divorce is a sin. There are some exceptions noted. And this is a highly debated topic. But what I want us to take away from this is that it is so important to align our present and our future with Gods word.
I don’t believe for a second that God is casting each of us down to Hell for our divorce. I do, however, know that there are earthly consequences for my sins. (That’s the beauty of the grace Jesus died for – He paid the eternal price for our sin – we have access to forgiveness through repentance).
One of those earthly consequences for me was the emotional and financial disaster I found myself in after my divorce. But the disaster wasn’t that God was bestowing suffering upon me because I did wrong. The disaster came because we can’t live by earthly standards and sin yet still reap the benefits of the joy God promised us. Not because He doesn’t want us to have it. God used His word to warn us of sin because He already knows the destruction each sin can cause in our lives. Some of us even become “self-destructive” in our sin. So please – don’t take this wrong. I’m not trying to make you feel bad or guilty. I’m standing right beside you saying – “Hey, I screwed up too!”. There is hope in destruction. And when we get down to our bare bones and have nothing to cling to, God is still there. He can rebuild, restore, and repair us.
I believe God desires to bless us rather than afflict us:
Lamentations 3:21-25 New International Version (NIV)
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
No matter what your situation looks like today, find hope in Him. No matter the mistakes you’ve made or the sins you’ve committed, you can repent. Turn back. Change your ways. You can choose to align your life with God’s word and have the joy and happiness that He promises us in the Bible. Lamentations of the heart are temporary. Hope is eternal. Your sorrow and hurt from your divorce will pass – don’t let it define you. Even in your greatest despair, you are not alone. Choose what you want your legacy to be. Everyday do one thing to contribute to that legacy. One day you will look over your shoulder and see that step-by-step God healed you and changed you.