I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say, “My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love. Lamentations 3:17-32 (NIV)
Often faith is the difference between a person who is fearful and miserable, and a person who is hopeful and joyful.
Without faith in ourselves, we struggle to accomplish things. Without faith in others, we struggle to trust, and without faith in something bigger and more loving than ourselves, we fail to have hope for the future.
Faith brings confidence that, in the midst of things that are difficult, we are being challenged, strengthened and upheld. I love the verse that says it is good to bear the yoke when we are young. So true! We will all have difficulties at some point in our lives. But when we are young, we have energy and openness to growth. If we know where to look, we have support from those who have “been there done that.” It also gives me hope that our youth struggling, though painful to see, is building their character and strengthening them so that they will be able to carry on into the future.
I, like the author in Lamentations, remember the struggles of my youth and I also remember the reconciliation of those struggles. In those moments there was growth and I benefit from the faith and resolve that makes today’s difficulties seem lighter and less painful to move through. With faith in the God who loves me, the people who sustain me and the inner strength that guides me I am confident in the impermanence of life’s difficulties. I am confident in the goodness of the world. And, I am most confident in the joy of it all.
With faith, we believe in the positive outcome of all things. With faith, we believe in the essential goodness of humankind, and with faith, we are confident in our potential for growth.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NIV)