[Lamentations 3:22-26] The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. 26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
His Mercies Are New Every Morning
Time rolls on. Will next year be better that this year? Or will it be much the same?
God, in His wisdom, has created our lives in cycles. He could’ve made it so that you are born and then time just keeps going on a straight path until you die. But, instead, there is a lot of stopping and going.
We wake each morning and lay down to rest each evening, and then wake again. And each day is made of morning, afternoon, and evening. And a week is made of seven days and then it starts again.
The moon’s cycle around the earth marks one month and then another and then another. And we mark the earth’s full cycle around the sun – tonight another year has passed. Time rolls on, giving us many beginnings and endings.
We don’t make too much of these time cycles as false religions do. It’s not a spiritual thing. Instead, God as Creator has given order to His creation and to our lives. We have work and we have rest. And bad days end and new days begin. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” [Psalm 30:5].
Does a bad day overwhelm us? Can a bad year ruin us? “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – And, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” – “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” [Romans 8:28,37-39].
No bad day or week or decade is greater than God’s love in Christ.
Even if we are “regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” [Romans 8:36], our hope is in the Lamb. Our hope is not in a new year, but in another time cycle of just three days – “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” [1 Corinthians 15:3-4].
The truth of those three days is constant, unchanging. No matter how your days change from up to down, or good to bad, or how rapidly they change, who Jesus is for you does not change. Every day of every year, the unchanging reality of your life is that Jesus, the Son of God, has given His life and died for you. And every morning of every day, this does not change, Jesus is risen for you.
We read today a short portion of a passage from Lamentations chapter three. The book of Lamentations contains the lamentations, the sorrowful complaints, of the prophet Jeremiah who witnessed the downfall and captivity of the people of God and their city. I want to now read the whole passage. There is much lament spoken before the hope is given. This is rather long, but I think it speaks to each of us:
[Lamentations 3:1-26] I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; 2 he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; 3 surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long. 4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away; he has broken my bones; 5 he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; 6 he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago. 7 He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has made my chains heavy; 8 though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer; 9 he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones; he has made my paths crooked. 10 He is a bear lying in wait for me, a lion in hiding; 11 he turned aside my steps and tore me to pieces; he has made me desolate; 12 he bent his bow and set me as a target for his arrow. 13 He drove into my kidneys the arrows of his quiver; 14 I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long. 15 He has filled me with bitterness; he has sated me with wormwood. 16 He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; 17 my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; 18 so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” 19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! 20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. 26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
This speaks to each of us, and it speaks, ultimately, of the One who suffered these lamentations for us on His cross, in our place – Jesus Christ.
Every day it is the constant, unchanging truth that all our lament, and all our own sin and our own evil which causes so much of our lament, and the harm that evil people lay upon you, has all been laid on one man, Jesus Christ. And He has overcome it and is risen. He lives.
In truth, this next year will not be much different than any other. There will be good and there will be bad. You will either toil in the rolling waves of time, or you will live by faith in the unchanging reality of who Jesus is and what He has done for you, yes, even for you.
Day and night, months and weeks and years, time and eternity are His. By the three-day death and resurrection of Jesus, sin and death are always last year, and life and God’s mercy are always new every morning.
In short, brothers and sisters, tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year, and what matters most won’t change – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” [Hebrews 13:8]. Since God so loves you, seek to love each other – all your brothers and sisters – more this year than last, more today than yesterday.. Amen.