‘I said: “My strength and my hope has perished, from the LORD” – remembering my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall! My soul still has them in remembrance — and is humbled in me…. I have hope! It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions do not fail! They are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness!’ Lamentations 3:18-23.
Calvin comments: “The Prophet does not here speak as though he was divested of every sin…. But, on the contrary, in order to animate the faithful to seek God — he sets before them here an instance of infirmity which everyone finds true as to himself….
“It is evident that his faith was not slightly shaken, but had wholly failed…. The Prophet was then fully persuaded that he was forsaken by God…. Faith is sometimes so stifled, that even the children of God think that they are lost — and that it is all over with their salvation….
“The Prophet also expressly reminded the faithful that they ought not to despair — though despair laid hold of their minds, or though the devil tempted them to despair….. They ought then especially to struggle against it…. The faithful ought not to faint, even…when it seems to be all over for them, and no hope remains…. They ought nevertheless to go on hoping….
“The faithful are not free from despair…. Yet there is no reason why they should indulge despair!…. They ought courageously and firmly to resist it!… The Prophet…meant that he was as it were overwhelmed, for a short time…. The remedy is immediately to flee to God, and to complain of this misery — so that He may succour and raise up those who thus have fallen….
“The Prophet now shows…: ‘I will hope!’… He would recall this to mind. He says that he would then have new ground of hope…, when he had recourse to God…. He who is conscious of his own infirmity and directs his prayer to God — will at length find a ground of hope!’… So hope will then arise, and aid us!… God bring light out of darkness, when He restores His faithful people from despair to a good hope!…
“‘It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not!’… It ought to be ascribed to God’s mercy that the faithful have not often been consumed…. The ‘mercies of God were not consumed, and…His compassion had not failed…. They are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness!’… They were ‘new’ — or renewed every day!…
“Grant, Almighty God…, O grant that we may be sustained by Your invincible power!… When You would humble us, may we loathe ourselves on account of our sins, and thus perseveringly contend — until, having gained the victory, we shall give You the glory for Your perpetual aid in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen!”
We are not consumed, because of God’s great faithfulness! Is that too your belief?