Lamentations 3:17-18, 21-23
Sometimes as Christians we can get the impression that we’re supposed to feel and act happy all of the time. In fact we might wonder if we’re sinning when we don’t. Are we sinning when we grieve too long over the loss of a loved one? Are we sinning when we have feelings of melancholy and even depression? Are these sort of things unchristian?
The prophet Jeremiah certainly expresses such feelings and emotions in the book of lamentations. He does this especially on account of the children of Israel. That God has allowed to permit great suffering, destruction even, on account of their sin. Even though Jeremiah himself isn’t being punished by God yet he’s filled with great grief.
The prophet Jeremiah and the book of Lamentations expresses such feelings in his own life. Feelings of great sorrow, melancholy, depression, even hopelessness when he says this in the third chapter of Lamentations
I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say, “My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:17-18)
Jeremiah is expressing here is true human emotion, grief over terrible things that have occurred. So is it wrong for us to feel sad sometimes? For us to experience grief and sadness, melancholy maybe even feel depressed at times?
We know our Lord Jesus at the graveside of his friend Lazarus expressed sorrow over his death. He wasn’t happy all of the time. Yet we do also know where God points us to for comfort during such times. As Jeremiah continues on just a few verses later he says this
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23)
He recalls God’s Word. It’s that word that gives him hope that reminds him that God’s mercies are new every morning.
So it’s okay sometimes to feel sad. To have great sorrow, feelings of melancholy, but also know the place where we find comfort. God in His Word whose mercies are new every morning. Amen.