URC Daily Devotion Monday, 8 January 2024

Lamentations 3: 19 – 24

The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
    is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
    and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
    ‘therefore I will hope in him.’


There’s a viral video which often does the rounds where a harassed wife is fed up with doing all the chores.  Her husband notices her distress and tells her not to worry because he’s discovered something amazing.  He hasn’t shown it to her before because he was afraid of jinxing it.  It’s a magic white laundry basket. He just chucks all his dirty clothes into it during the day, and BY MAGIC, without him lifting a finger, they reappear, clean, folded and put away in his drawers by the next morning.  And there’s more… a magic coffee table where you just leave your dirty plates, mugs and empty beer cans!
My family holidays have very rarely involved hotels, but on the few occasions where I have stayed in one, I am utterly amazed at the fresh, folded towels, new every morning!

In the book of Lamentations, we find the prophet Jeremiah pouring out his heart in the midst of great suffering and despair. The verses we read today reflect the depths of his anguish and the profound hope he discovered even in the darkest of times.  Jeremiah begins by vividly recalling his affliction, wandering, bitterness, and gall. His soul is downcast within him, overwhelmed by the weight of his circumstances. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Moments when it feels like the world is closing in on us, when despair seems to be our only companion.

But then he remembers the towels and the magic coffee table, or rather, the inexhaustible, fresh-every-day abundance of God’s grace and mercy.  Like the manna in the wilderness, like the rising of the sun since the dawn of time, there has always been more to come.  Therefore, I will hope in him.  Thanks be to God!


Loving God, in the chaos of this world, in the disappointments of this life,
I long for your crisp, clean sheets of mercy;
Your fresh, fluffy towels of grace;
Your magic laundry basket of forgiveness;
And your unfailing sunrise of hope –
For my life, for the life of this community and for the life of the world.  Amen

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