Faith for Every Moment
His Hope in Your Heart
"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him."
Are you a morning person? I'm not. I can stay the course at night, but I am a bear in the morning. But I am a Christian, so in another way I am a morning person! In fact, I am a "morning by morning" person! If we don't find the morning-by-morning way to live the Christian life, our faith will not survive. We will never find faith enough to finish. Faith that works is a faith for every moment of every daily day.
The faith I experienced to trust God yesterday when my father died may desert me today when my child gets sick. The trust I was able to model to my children when I received some ominous medical news can fly out the window when my daughter goes out on her first date! Why is it that the faith that worked yesterday may not work today? Is it God's fault or mine? Well, it's not God's fault, so it must be mine!
God is faithful all the time. I am faithful some of the time. God is good all the time. I am good occasionally. God is full of compassion all of the time. I can get a twinge of compassion on Thanksgiving or when the Salvation Army rings their bells at Christmas. I am good at exhibiting mercy to people who have hurt others, but bad at offering the same mercy to someone who has hurt me! So it is obvious that I am not God! The problem is that I am me, but people expect me to be like God-loving, good, compassionate, and merciful all the time.
To be more like God and less like me, I need to stay close to Him. The secret of faith for every moment is that I seek Him out morning by morning, evening by evening, day by day. The more I make sure He is my constant companion, the more godly, or God-like, I will become. Isaiah affirms this when he talks about the reign of a righteous king, for during the reign of such a king, "each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land" (Isaiah 32:2). Because the King of kings reigns in my heart and life, I will become more like Him day by day. I like to think of myself as the "shadow of a great rock;" that is, the shadow of the Rock, my Lord. As I determine to abide so close to the Rock that I am his constant shadow, then moment by moment and day by day I will become more like Him, reflecting his mercy, compassion, and love.
As we study the prophet Jeremiah, we will see that he was God's constant companion. Jeremiah wept with compassion because he loved his people, and he was faithful to them and to God through thick and thin. And there was plenty of thick and thin in Jeremiah's life! He wrote of great faith in God even as he struggled, feared, and watched the destruction of his beloved city, Jerusalem.
The verse at the beginning of this chapter, Lamentations 3:25, is a magnificent statement of faith. The context of this statement, however, comes as Jeremiah wrote of the sack of Jerusalem. He wrote of a siege so horrific that minds would refuse to even take it in. Listen to the horror Jeremiah experienced: "My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city. They say to their mothers, 'Where is bread and wine?' as they faint like wounded men in the streets of the city, as their lives ebb away in their mother's arms" (Lamentations 2:11-12).
Many of us can identify with Jeremiah, who was subjected to an overdose of trouble. "I am the man who has seen affliction," he writes in Lamentations 3:1. Those words are probably the understatement of the book! He was a man who knew what it felt like to have his own family plot to kill him, his own church make him a laughingstock, and his one and only colleague regret he had ever met him. His leaders lowered him into a pit, where he sank up to his neck in the mud, and then dropped stones on his head (Lamentations 3:52-53).
How does someone survive such excessive abuse? What happens to a person's belief system under such duress? What can you do when you are faced with such distress that your faith becomes shaky? Maybe you are watching the destruction of your highest hopes and fondest dreams, just as Jeremiah watched the destruction of Jerusalem. You need a faith that works in the face of overwhelming trouble. Perhaps you experienced faith in the face of adversity yesterday and yet find yourself struggling with faith enough for today. Moment by moment, morning by morning, God desires to supply you with faith enough to finish.
Morning by morning, crisis by crisis, day by day, Jeremiah learned to draw on the faithful God who loved him and provided for him. Morning by morning God's grace was sufficient; morning by morning God's mercy sustained him. The same can be true for us today. The compassionate God fins a way to cradle a person's dying faith in his arms and nurse it back to life. God is God enough!
We too need to experience God's grace morning by morning. That grace is available to us by faith through prayer. Prayer makes it possible for limited people to meet an unlimited God. As we deepen our relationship with God through prayer, as we remain as "shadows" to Him, our Rock, we will discover faith that works-as Jeremiah did.Faith Distress
Our concept of God can take such a hammering in adversity that our faith faints and prayer becomes impossible. We may not know it, but at that point we are suffering faith distress. What does faith distress feel like? It feels horrible! We don't feel like trusting God anymore because God does not appear to be the loving, kind, and merciful God we have always believed Him to be. This is bound to leave us extremely insecure. There are several signs of faith distress.
Getting God and Life Mixed Up
One of the symptoms of faith distress is the tendency to get God and life all mixed up: We blame God for all the evil we see or experience in life. In an illogical thought progression, we see cruelty in the world, we find ourselves thinking about the apparent cruelty of God, and then wrongly conclude that God is cruel. God is not cruel, however; life is cruel.
Have you ever done that? Jeremiah did. He described God as being like a bear who has mangled him and left him half-dead by the side of the road: "He dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help" (Lamentations 3:11). "Life is a bear," he may have said in our modern vernacular. "God is attacking me." Jeremiah had God and life mixed up.
There is no doubt that Jeremiah had been mangled and mauled. Like Job, Jeremiah complained bitterly that he wished he were dead. But it was his relatives and friends who had waited like fierce animals to pounce on him and destroy him, not the Almighty.
In fact, God had warned Jeremiah that this was the case. "Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth" (Jeremiah 9:4-5). Again the Lord spoke to his distraught prophet, "Your brothers, your own family-even they have betrayed you; they have raised a loud cry against you. Do not trust them, though they speak well of you" (Jeremiah 12:6). It was his own people at home in Anathoth who had turned their hands against Jeremiah again and again, yet he asserts in this lament, "Indeed, [God] has turned his hand against me again and again" (Lamentations 3:5).
Jeremiah complains further, "He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship" (Lamentations 3:5), yet it was the leaders of Israel who had put him under house arrest and worse. Jeremiah continues, "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord" (Lamentations 3:18). It was not God who had robbed him of his dreams, but evil people. When you get God and life all mixed up, you confuse the source of the trouble with the only One who can truly help.
Extreme affliction does something to the mind, causing it to lose perspective on the whole situation. "I remember my affliction and my wandering," the prophet cries, "the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me" (Lamentations 3:19-20). Jeremiah was busy remembering all the bad things that had happened to him, blaming God, and it caused him to be "downcast."
Have you ever pushed the "replay button" in your mind, going over and over the things that have happened to you until you are so depressed you want to die? If you have, you are not alone. It is very difficult not to revisit trouble in your mind, but it is not impossible. Jeremiah needed to realize that it was not God who had used him for target practice, but the priests of Anathoth. It was not God who thought Jeremiah was a big joke; it was Jeremiah's own people. It was not God who had manhandled him, but the temple police.
Similarly, you must realize that it was not God who walked out on you; it was your spouse. It was not God who took advantage of you at the office but your workmate. It was not God who was driving the car that killed your child but a drunken driver. We must not get God and life mixed up. Like Jeremiah, you may need to sit your soul down, give it a good talking to, and make it listen! David did that. He had to sit his soul down and give it a good talking to: "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you" (Psalm 42:5-6).
I remember getting God and life mixed up. One time my father lent his car showroom to an ex-prisoner-of-war for an art exhibit. The man had spent four grueling years in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp. He was an artist by trade and managed to sketch the horrors inside the camp, hoping one day the world would see what had taken place. I was fifteen at the time and volunteered to help put up the exhibit.
I will never forget those horrific, graphic pictures. I thought, Aren't the Jews God's people? What sort of God is He to allow such things to happen to his own? How cruel! But it was not God's inhumanity that was painted in those sketches; it was man's! It was not God who had mangled their bodies; it was the soldiers. It was not God who carted the Jews off to the terrible death camps; it was the Germans under Hitler. It was not God who threw their bodies in a pit and dropped stones on their heads; it was their torturers. I had God and life mixed up. I needed to rethink my understanding of human evil and of God if I was ever to make any sense out of life.
How will you know whether your faith is in distress? Faith distress has telltale symptoms. The first is getting God and life mixed up. The second has to do with your prayer life.
Struggling in Your Prayer Life
When affliction comes and your faith becomes distressed, you may find that your prayer life takes a body blow! At times mine certainly has. As we listen to ourselves pray, we may hear ourselves praying like unbelievers. We may well find ourselves praying angry prayers, complaining prayers, bargaining prayers, accusing prayers. Just read Lamentations 3.
In his lamentations to God, Jeremiah accuses God of turning the lights off on him. "He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light" (Lamentations 3:2). He complains that God has put his hands over his ears and "even when I call out or cry for help, He shuts out my prayer" (Lamentations 3:8).
Jeremiah feels as if he has been used for target practice: "He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows" (Lamentations 3:12). He wails, "He has broken my teeth with gravel" (Lamentations 3:16). Try listening to your prayers; they may tell you if you are experiencing faith distress!
One day I received a phone call that put me into a tailspin. My daughter-in-law had left her husband, my son. I fell to my knees. I remember my heart rate escalating. "Lord," I prayed . . . Then my prayer turned into garbled words. I couldn't believe I was praying this! Had I learned nothing in over forty years of knowing Christ and serving Him? I listened to myself charging God with sleeping on the job! I heard myself getting God and life mixed up, accusing Him of behavior that had nothing whatsoever to do with Him. Suddenly I didn't want to talk about it anymore. Not with Him. My prayer life moved into a holding pattern!
In faith distress, you may find yourself unable or unwilling to pray. God understands. He knows your pain. Pray anyway, and tell Him exactly how you feel. Those feelings are coming from your inner turmoil, another sign of faith distress.
Facing Inner Turmoil
Jeremiah knew about inner turmoil. "I have been deprived of peace," the prophet records in Lamentations 3:17. Peace is not a fuzzy feeling. Peace is, as Augustine put it, "the tranquility of order." When my spirit is out of order and I am falling apart on the inside and blaming God for it, I am probably suffering a bad case of faith distress. There is an uneasy awareness that things are not the way they ought to be. My world is seriously out of sync, and I fee a real resentment toward God. It is his fault, we tell ourselves. This trouble happened on his watch He is the robber; I am the robbed.
A friend of mine had been sexually abused when she was a small child. As she struggled to make sense of what God had allowed to happen to her, she got God and life mixed up and ended up in a great state of spiritual confusion.
"What is your concept of God?" I asked her.
"At first," she replied, "I found it difficult to believe that He even existed. But I knew that was silly because I knew He did. Then I really had a problem! It was easier to believe that He wasn't there than that He was! If He was, how could He stand by in a corner of the room with his hands in his pockets? What sort of God is He? How could He do this to me?"
But it wasn't God who had abused her; it was her father. And God had delivered her out of the situation in a remarkable way. God was not the robber.
When you face such inner turmoil, you need to talk to God about it, for ultimately only He can make sense of it. Only He can restore your faith.
The next symptom of faith distress is a lack of direction in life, confusion as to which way to go or what decision to make. Jeremiah attributed his confusion to God: "He has barred my way with blocks of stone; He has made my paths crooked" (Lamentations 3:9).
I can remember thinking that God was playing a game with me by sending me up a road and then going on ahead of me and turning all the signposts around just to confuse me! That is not a good feeling!
We were trying to discern whether to come to America to live. We received an invitation to immigrate and started up the road in that direction. Why would God call us to America and then put roadblocks in our way? I began to suffer faith distress.
But it wasn't God who was blocking our way. It was immigration, red tape, and government departments on both sides of the Atlantic. As soon as I applied my faith in the faithfulness of God, the way became clear again and the roadblocks disappeared.
Your faith can be distressed when you feel confused and don't know what to do. Never forget that God is not out to confuse you-he will eventually make the path clear. Be patient and remain faithful.
Feeling Disappointed with God
Another telltale symptom of faith distress is feeling disappointment with God. This might be a horrible sense of betrayal, much like what Jeremiah felt: "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped for from the Lord" (Lamentations 3:18). Jeremiah felt that God had let him down-badly. All his hopes and dreams-personal hopes, political hopes, prophetic hopes-lay buried under the rubble that had been the holy city of Jerusalem.
Have you ever felt that all your hopes and dreams lie under the rubble of divorce, job loss, or child problems? Perhaps it is your faith that lies in ruins, and you feel betrayed by the very God who promised you so much. Like Jeremiah you complain, "All that I had hoped from the Lord is gone."
Stuart and I had given up our careers to cast our lot with a work among teenagers. After we arrived at a Christian youth center, things did not turn out quite the way I expected. I felt betrayed. I thought that God had let us in for a disappointment. I felt that He was unfair and unjust. All I had hoped from the Lord was gone.
But this was most unfair and unjust of me. We had mistaken the job description we had been given. It was no one's fault, certainly not God's! Once I began to unmix God and life, this period of our lives became a perfect opportunity to develop our faith.Faith Development
The first step to renewing your faith at the low points of your life is to recognize the symptoms of faith distress. The second step is to take charge of your spiritual life and realize that the conditions you are living in are ideal for God to develop your faith.
This process has two sides to it. I am responsible for "mind work," and God is responsible for "heart work." (Of course, I understand that God also does work on our minds as we learn from his Word and pray for his guidance, but that's not what I'm talking about here.)
Listen to Jeremiah as he does his mind work: "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 have hope" (Lamentations 3:19-21). How do we do this mind work? By taking responsibility for what we "call to mind."
I can remember discovering this principle early in my Christian faith. The truth that I could do something about my thinking was a huge step in my own faith development. I did not need to be a victim of my own negative thinking or of the thoughts that the devil planted in my fertile imaginings. I could take charge of my own thought patterns.
My part was to select the right channel and to choose the right tape. I could truly be selective in what I drew out of my memory bank. I could constantly call bad memories to mind, and the result would be despondency or worse. Or I could call good things to mind, and the result would be renewed faith and hope.
There is a good example of this in Lamentations 3: "Those who were my enemies without cause hunted me like a bird. They tried to end my life in a pit and threw stones at me; the waters closed over my head and I thought I was about to be cut off" (vv. 52-54). Notice how Jeremiah minds his mind and corrals his thoughts. Instead of dwelling on the nightmare of drowning in mud while rocks were dropped on his head, he "calls to mind" his desperate cry for help and what happened next: "I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: 'Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.' You came near when I called You, and You said, 'Do not fear.' O Lord, you took up my case; you redeemed my life" (vv. 55-58).
When you are in the pit and people are throwing stones at you, don't think about the stones; think about how God will help you out of it by remembering how He has helped you in the past! Jeremiah focused his thoughts on how God got right down in the pit with him. He remembered how God had delivered him before. Jeremiah minded his mind, and God minded his heart!
When I am in a pit, I have learned to use my mind to remember an answered prayer. This is one reason I keep a prayer diary, because in the heat of the moment I don't always have a good memory. It is good to have recorded incidents in my life when God has answered specific prayers for my children. When they are in urgent need of prayer again, it helps to turn in that record to past incidents and be reminded of answered prayer. That gives me hope to pray: "Do it again, Lord!"
After you have thought about how God has helped you in trouble, don't stop. It's tempting to start thinking about the trouble again at once. Think about God. Think about his character. That's what Jeremiah did.
"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" (Lamentations 3:22-23).
God is a consuming fire, but because of his love He will not consume us. God is a forgiving God, full of mercy and grace. This will never change! People will change, circumstances will change, but God will never change! Great is his faithfulness! He is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to Him. Practicing remembering these positive things about the Lord will start to develop our faith muscles. So faith development means starting with mind work and then cooperating with the Lord as He begins his heart work in you. How do we cooperate with Him in our faith development? Jeremiah tells us the steps.
Tell Yourself the Truth
"I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him'" (Lamentations 3:24). Jeremiah is telling himself the truth. "The Lord is all I have," he says. "The Lord is also my future, my inheritance. He is all I have now and all I will have in the future."
If God is the sum total of all you care about, then it makes perfect sense to spend time in his presence as often as you can. Of course, you need to decide if this is, indeed, the truth about yourself. Perhaps the Lord is not the sum total of your life. If He is not, start there, and make a decision about that. If you want Him to be the focal point of all you are and do, you can tell Him so right now. If you want Him to take care of your past by his forgiving mercies, fill your present with his presence, and be the sum total of your future, then convey that to Him in words. Be truthful with yourself.
Put Yourself into Silence
"Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him" (Lamentations 3:28). Start a habit of sitting in silence until you become conscious that you are not alone. God's waiting room is a grand place to be! You will need to find a solitary place. As I have worked hard at this, I have discovered that hope is more often birthed in silence than in noise.
Many people find it hard to cope with quiet, yet quiet helps us to cope! A relative of mine used to fill his environment with sound. I came to realize he didn't want to be alone. It made him uncomfortable. He didn't want to hear his still small voice of conscience. Our postmodern contemporary Christian world needs to rediscover the use of silence and not be afraid of it.
Find a time and find a place. Get up early, and get up regularly in order to meet God. Remember that sleep deprivation is better than God deprivation. Pay the price necessary to achieve the disciplines required to discover Him in the garden of your soul. You will never be sorry!
Stay Until You Sense His Grace
"It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord" (Lamentations 3:26). Quietness is soul therapy. Staying in the quiet of God's presence brings tranquility back to a frantic spirit.
Staying in quietness is a foreign concept in our industrialized society. The psalmist said that the Shepherd of our souls would lead his sheep beside "quiet waters" (Psalm 23:2). Zephaniah promised that God will "quiet you with his love" (Zephaniah 3:17). Isaiah affirmed that "in quietness and trust is your strength" (Isaiah 30:15), later saying that "the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever" (32:17).
The spiritual concepts of nourishment, satisfaction, strength, and confidence will be realized in "quietness."
What are you needing God to do for you right now? Perhaps you are hungry or thirsty for his grace, love, or power. Perhaps you need rest from a guilty conscience. Maybe you need forgiveness. Perhaps you need strength to face a difficult situation, and confidence to trust in God. Stay with God until you sense his gracious response to your need.
Think about standing before God. Listen to your words. You might say something like, "O Lord, do you remember that awful thing I did?" If you do, you will hear Him reply, "No. What thing?" As God said to Jeremiah, "I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more" (Jeremiah 31:34).
When I first became a Christian, I had trouble believing that I was forgiven. It was hard for me to believe that God had forgotten what I couldn't help but remember. God had forgiven me, but I couldn't forgive myself.
It was a long time before I could trust what the Bible said about the forgiveness of God. What love and patience it took for Him to show me such mercy and grace.
I realized that one day every human being will stand before God. To each one He will say either, "I forgive you" or "I forget you." There is no middle ground, no partial forgiveness. God has forgiven you completely. Those who learn how much they have been forgiven can also know that they will never be forgotten.
The problem is staying still enough and silent enough long enough to allow God the chance to do his renewing work. Staying still until the focus of your heart shifts from you to Him takes tenacity and discipline. The effort, however, is so worthwhile! You will know when that takes place. You will stop thinking about yourself. What a novel thought!
I never realized how self-centered I was until I began to practice being still and quiet. There I was, filling the center of my thinking. I couldn't escape from my horrible self-absorption. I was everywhere. I found that if I asked God to help me to change my self-absorption to God-absorption and sat there long enough for Him to do that renewing work within me, it actually began to happen!
If I waited stubbornly and patiently, but with confidence, until his work was done in me and for me, I found that He recreated spiritual life and perspective in my heart. It is good to wait with quietness and confidence for the good being done in you and through you. When you have truly experienced God's forgiveness yourself, then you are ready for God to take your faith and display it to the world.Faith Displayed
Faith distress can lead us to faith development so that our faith is displayed to the world. Jeremiah's words in Lamentations reveal three qualities of genuine faith displayed to the world. And all three of them have to do with our attitudes.
Genuine Faith Believes in God's Goodness
"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him," we read in Lamentations 3:25.
I had some friends who lost a child in an accident. They moved into a "faith distress" mode. Then they allowed God to develop their faith in Him in the crisis. As the parents rushed to the hospital, one prayed out loud, "Oh, God, will You be good to us and save our child?" The other parent said, "There's something wrong with that prayer. Isn't God good if the boy dies?"
Together they came to the realization that God was good whether the child lived or not! Bad things that happen do not change the character of God! The child did, in fact, pass away, but my friends displayed a faith in the goodness of God despite the bad outcome of the incident.
Unwavering faith in God's goodness is a display of faith that amazes the world and brings great glory to God.
Genuine Faith Stops Whining
The thing that impressed me about my friends was their refusal to complain. They refused to complain about the hospital, the paramedics, or the endless red tape once they arrived at the hospital. They didn't complain about the expense of the funeral or the inappropriate remarks of people who offered glib comments on things they really didn't understand. They cheerfully persevered in their ongoing ministry, not without appropriate tears, but with a stubborn affirmation in God's sovereign goodness. In other words they refused to whine!
What are you busy whining about at the moment? In our son and daughter-in-law's kitchen, they have put up a plaque for their seven children. It simply says: No Whining! God wants us to put one of those up on the wall of our minds, too.
None of us likes to suffer in silence. We like to lament loudly! Sometimes I think Christians are the world's worst whiners! Why is it that believers so often portray such a piqued attitude? It is as if we feel we have an inalienable right to a charmed life! God wants us to stop whining when we face difficulty. Instead, He wants us to humbly submit to the difficulty and bear it patiently, knowing that He has permitted the situation.
Jeremiah wrote of a man who should "bury his face in the dust" (Lamentations 3:29). He used this familiar picture of a person submitting himself to another by falling prostrate in the dirt in complete submission.
The aspect of humble submission has been incredibly hard for me. I just love to gripe and complain. It just comes naturally. And that is the problem, of course. It comes naturally. It is part of our sinful nature. We can monitor our growth in grace by our willingness to stop it.
God hates whiners! He was constantly telling the children of Israel to stop it. In fact, He is still telling us in the New Testament how He felt about all the grumbling his people did in the Old Testament: "Do not grumble, as some of [the Israelites] did-and were killed by the destroying angel" (I Corinthians 10:10). If the destroying angel meted out such drastic punishment to whiners today, I wonder how many of us would be left?
The spirit of humble submission to hardship will display a faith that is working in a Christian's life.
Genuine Faith Cheerfully Perseveres
Scripture tells us, "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5). We cannot grow spiritually until we exhibit a healthy faith that our troubled night will not last forever. Lamentations 3:31 says that "men are not cast off by the Lord forever."
As we wait out the storms of life, will we assert that God's compassion and mercy will come to our aid and that our loving God will not "willingly bring affliction" (Lamentations 3:33)? Will we speak up for Him instead of speaking against Him? Will we say loudly and clearly that we believe He is fully aware of our suffering and the injustice done to us and that nothing escapes his notice?
Above all, will we be willing to accept hardship and testing, knowing that they strengthen our faith? If our answer to that question is, "I will, the Lord helping me," then we are well on the way to experiencing a faith that works morning by morning for every moment of our days!
I suppose it comes down to a new willingness to be broken by the circumstances of life that God in his sovereign grace permits. When you do that, your faith distress becomes faith developed, which can then be gloriously displayed by God to a hungry world. You can have faith in the loving compassion of a merciful God, who will, moment by moment and crisis by crisis, supply all the grace you need.
"Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love" (Lamentations 3:32).
These worksheets can be used in groups, in church classes, or with individuals as a discipling tool. They can also be used in a personal quiet time.
1. Discuss the symptoms of faith distress. Do you recognize any of these in your own life?
• Getting God and life mixed up
• Failing in your prayer life
• Facing inner turmoil
• Lacking direction
• Feeling disappointed with God
2. Read Lamentations 3:1-33. Then take the symptoms listed above and match them to a verse (or verses) in this passage. (For example, "He has trampled me in the dust" in 3:16 would match "Getting God and life mixed up.")
3. Discuss this sentence: "I am responsible for 'mind work,' and God is responsible for 'heart work.'"
4. Which of the following elements do you struggle with and why?
5. Read Lamentations 3:19-33 Match each verse to one of the following:
6. Which of the items listed in question 5 are you working on at the present time? Share your progress with the group.
1. Praise God for being God enough in your life.
2. Pray for those who are struggling with their concept of God.
3. Pray Lamentations 3:23-24 for those you know are facing difficulty.
4. Pray for yourself.
5. Pray for people who are struggling to persevere.
A Letter to God
Write a letter to God about your needs for his grace and mercy in your life. Ask Him to help you discover faith morning by morning.