“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me… I say to myself... The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:19; 24)
How have you handled trials in your life? Examples of suffering can range from losing a loved one, a concept all too familiar to many of us, to moving to a foreign land, well, for me anyway. In fact, I experienced both. As a young boy growing up in South Korea, I lost my father when I was 8 years old, which caused my family to immigrate to the U.S., resulting in great difficulties, but also resulting in a closer relationship with God.
The Prophet Jeremiah, also known as the Weeping Prophet who wrote the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, was a man who was all too familiar with suffering and hardship. He was beaten and mocked. He proclaimed to the Jews to turn from their sin of idolatry to no avail, and he witnessed God’s judgment in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Lamentations teach us how to suffer well as God’s people. He doesn’t ask God to remove him from his hardships but asks God to be his “portion.” The portion here does not refer to a portion of steak or ribs, but it’s a reference to God’s blessings when the Israelites came into the promised land. There, every tribe received a “portion” of the land except for the Levites who served as priests. For them, serving in God’s presence was their “portion.”
As Christians, may we be a people who learn to suffer well. May we not ask to be removed from our trials which God uses to purify us and draw near to us, but may we be a people who call on our Lord Jesus and say as Jeremiah said, “The Lord is my portion.”
Question: How can you draw near to God in your hardships?
Challenge: Draw near to God in your suffering through prayer, Scripture, and fellowship of believers.
Prayer: God, help me to realize in the good times and the bad, that you are my “portion.”
Tim Cho, Chapel Leader -- Washington Nationals