Jeremiah voices his own suffering experienced during his 40+ years of ministry, the two-and-a-half year siege of Jerusalem which included famine and finally, the death and destruction he witnessed when the city was destroyed.
As Jeremiah writes in 586 BC he reaches the low point of his suffering. The days of prosperity are forgotten and there is no peace to experience. All that can be remembered is bitterness and affliction. The suffering the Lord has forced on Jeremiah and the people of Israel is compared to being forced to chew gravel while being walked on until pressed into the dust.
The memory of the past goodness is gone. The present experience of suffering is all that is available for Jeremiah to use to formulate an analysis of life. There is no hope. No light. No good memories. Only suffering.
Yet, there is one thing that Jeremiah can reach out for that is beyond his personal experience. Something that is greater than memories or human hope. Jeremiah knows the very character of the Lord.
Jeremiah begins to recall that there is hope in the Lord. God is not a God of destruction, but a God of compassion. Jeremiah does not say God doesn’t destroy, but he does say he doesn’t do it willingly. The Lord prefers to be gracious:
“For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”
– Lamentations 3:33
Jeremiah knows that he must endure what the Lord has decreed in judgment, but he also knows there is hope for the man who seeks the Lord and willingly waits for him.
There is hope for those who will seek and wait!
Then one of the great verses of scripture is stated by Jeremiah:
“It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.” – Lamentations 3:27
“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! – Jeremiah 3:29
If a man can willing accept where he is at in life and accept what the Lord has done, then this man will also have the ability to seek the Lord and wait for the Lord’s response. The Lord will respond to faith with compassion and unfailing love.
But, if a man is going to curse in bitterness and resentfully blame God for the unfairness of life, then that man can expect the worst, because that man will not seek the Lord. And, that man surely cannot wait on the Lord. That man will never experience the compassion and unfailing love which is God’s nature.
In your anguish you can blame God and perish.
Or, in your anguish you can seek God and wait for his answer.