One of my favorite Bible Art Journaling groups is Documented Faith. I enjoy Stephanie's whimsical style and her creative expressions. Simply put she inspires me!
Documented Faith has a monthly word prompt with weekly devotional/journaling prompts. She has amazing products and downloads (some of them are FREE!!!) that I have found to be very thought provoking. I read them each week but I don't always document them. It just depends on what strikes a chord with me.
For the month of July the word is PATIENCE and this week's verse is Lamentations 3: 25-26.
When I'm studying I like a bit of context so I like to read the entire chapter rather than a single verse. Lamentations is thought to be written by the prophet Jeremiah. Poor Jeremiah isn't very popular among his people. His call to turn back to the Lord has been falling on deaf ears.
The chapter begins with Jeremiah's lament of suffering God's wrath. (Lamentations 3:1-20) Even though Jeremiah is faithful to God he is still subject to all the calamity that is happening. This portion is a good reminder to us that we live in a fallen world and even though we ourselves may head the call of God we don't always escape the consequences of a society that doesn't.
Living in America in recent days, I can completely relate to Jeremiah. With all the craziness in the news it can sometimes feel like there is no hope. But then we come to the next portion that just makes me smile:
"Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness! I say: The LORD is my portion therefore I will put my hope in Him. The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the LORD." Lamentations 3:21-26After that how could you not be encouraged? I envision Jeremiah stiffening his spine, taking a deep breath, and thinking, "Okay, with God's help we can go forward." In Lamantations 3:28-30 Jeremiah seems to be saying that we may be suffering but we must do it with patience. He tells his people that they need to be silent and reflect on God's commands. They also need to be quiet rather than speak in anger and finally they need to turn the other cheek. Not one of these things are easy. In fact my Bible's commentary says that "Each tactic is increasingly difficult, and each raises the hope that God will deliver his people from trouble."
Lamentations 3:31-33 give us three reasons to hope. (1) The Lord will not reject His people forever. (2) God will show compassion according to His faithful love of us. (3) God doesn't enjoy bringing affliction or suffering on people.
The next several verses remind us that God is over all and He controls it all. I don't know about you, but I find great comfort in that fact alone. I may think I want to control my surroundings but in reality I know that I am only safe when I rest in the hand of God.
The rest of the chapter continues on in the same pattern reminding us that we must examine ourselves and our motives. We must return to the LORD and repent of our wicked ways. Over and over we are reminded that there is hope through God's mercy.
For further study and reflection I would invite you to download the Documented Faith Week 29 devotional. I know I have benefited from the time of reflection and I think you will too.