Behind all the desolation is the work of love.

Ray Stedman reflects on Lamentations 3:

Suddenly, in the midst of a long wail, he [Jeremiah] says (verse 22-33):

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, 
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; 
great is thy faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, 
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly 
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he bear 
the yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone in silence 
when he has laid it on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust — 
there may yet be hope;
let him give his cheek to the smiter, 
and be filled with insults. 
For the Lord will not 
cast off for ever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion 
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men. (Lamentations 3:22-33 RSV)

In many ways, this is one of the most beautiful passages in all the Bible. It reveals the compassion of the heart of God. Judgment, as Isaiah says, is his strange work. He does not like to do it. He does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men. His mercies are fresh every morning. In his own pain Jeremiah remembers this: that behind all the desolation is the work of love. God destroyed Jerusalem because it was heading the wrong way. He destroyed it so that he could restore it later, and build it up again in joy and peace and blessing. The Lord does not cast off forever; though he causes grief, he will have compassion.

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