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How

Read: Lamentations 1:1-6

How lonely sits the city that was full of people! (v. 1)

The original Hebrew title for the book of Lamentations is also the book’s first word: How. Lamentations has traditionally been attributed to the prophet Jeremiah—who warned God’s people of the impending exile to Babylon, then watched as the devastation unfolded. The opening verses of Lamentations reflect Jeremiah’s shock over the disaster. He surveys a once-vibrant city, now deserted.

Sometimes, after a difficult season or devastating loss, our lives feel like that lonely city. We find ourselves searching for words to pray, and the only one that comes is how: “How could God let this happen? How can I go on? How can I continue to trust God? How can any good come of this?”

During the exile, Jeremiah and his people knew God was allowing them to suffer for their transgressions. But they had no way of knowing just how God was using their circumstances for his saving purposes. In their trouble, God felt distant. But God was not silent. Even as he sent them into exile, God promised to sustain them. He went so far as to say that the exile was part of his plan of salvation—for them and their world (see Jer. 29:10-14).

In our troubles, God may seem silent. But God has spoken words of promise to us too—words sealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We may not know how God will rescue us or redeem our current circumstances. But we can trust that he will.

As you pray, ask God to fulfill his promises and his saving purposes.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon has served various Christian Reformed congregations since 2003. He currently serves as pastor at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This entry is part 1 of 15 in the series Lamentations: When God is Silent