Women’s Devotion | March 2020
Restore us to yourself, Lord that we may return: renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.
Lamentations 5:21-22 NIV
Webster defines lamentation as an expression of sorrow, mourning and regret.
After reading Lamentations I thought, “What a hopeless book!” How can so much grief and devastation bring hope? I believe everyone has been in a situation where all they could do was cry out to the Lord in pain and remembering what “once was”. It is in this book of Lamentations that the revelation of who I am in Jesus Christ became real. I have seen pain and sorrow in my own relationship with the Father. Being a child of God does not make life without struggle and being a pastor’s wife does not make me untouchable. At one time we were doing the will of the Father moving forward in ministry and in an instant, we were feeling ashamed and in fear of our future. In Lamentations there is a sense of greatness that had been destroyed due to sin. Sin is selfish and it will leave a path of destruction. In Lamentations God had turned away and what was left was pain, suffering, shame and deep sorrow which is described by the author in each chapter. But in the middle of this book, starting in chapter 3 verse 21, there is a glimmer of hope. The author brings into remembrance how good the Lord is and how great His love is for us. The rest of the book continues to speak of more pain, shame and destruction—all wrought by sin.
I have felt the shame and destruction of sin and longing for the “once was”. It’s very hard not to feel alone and think that the Lord has turned away during these times. I wanted so badly to be restored but I was so afraid that the Lord had rejected me and that He was angry beyond measure just as the author wrote in chapter 5 verse 22. Life itself can feel hopeless and full of unwanted stuff. Throughout my Christian life I have heard about the good ‘ole days and how much they are missed. What made them the good ‘ole days? Is it because people remember a time when they were filled with the Holy Spirit and in the will of God? In today’s world we get so caught up in life and struggles that we began to speak our own lament. Why am I going through this Lord? Why do You hate me? Why have You forsaken me? We have forgotten about Jesus Christ–the One who went to the cross and died for our sins. We have allowed the world to take our focus off of Him.
I am the first to say, “Where are you Jesus?” My days are filled with a bunch of stuff. I have to remind myself daily to keep my focus on Jesus. I know that sounds crazy coming from a pastor’s wife, but I work in the world and the world has blurred my focus at times. That’s when I find myself wondering, “Where is Jesus?” I have found out it’s my responsibility to seek Him daily and to know who I am in Him. If I don’t seek Him first, my days will be a blur and sin will follow. I know His word tells me that I am not defeated that I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2) . I must put my focus on Him daily and stay in His word, so I never forget what “once was”. He is the Father who will never leave me nor forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5). He has searched me and knows me. (Psalms 139:1). He knows who I am even when I don’t know who I am in Him. I have worth because He says I am the salt and the light of the earth (Matthew 5:13- 14). Although I struggle daily, I am continuously reminded through the Word of God that Jesus loves me and wants the best for me. I am freed from being in bondage. I am loved and accepted, I have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14) I am complete in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:10). He desires for meto commune with Him daily. He wants a relationship with me. I am the reason He went to the cross. He died for meso I may have everlasting life.
I don’t miss the “once was” days because through Jesus Christ I am restored daily. I don’t want my book to be hopeless with a questionable ending. I want to have a victorious ending to my book and that can only come from Jesus Christ.
My prayer for you is:
- You are reminded daily to seek Him first.
- If there are any struggles blurring your focus today, that they be removed.
- Through Jesus Christ you know who you are in Him and feel the love He has for you.
May all your days be victorious!
Kathy Stoddard serves alongside her husband, Bishop John A. Stoddard III, at Grace Point Worship Center in Fleming, Georgia. The Stoddard’s have been married for over 30 years and have two children who serve in various ministries in their church.