Let’s look at the deep agony of a very holy man of the Bible and see if you can figure out who is speaking: “I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. . . . He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. . . . My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord” (Lamentations 3:1-2, 7-8, 18).
Who was this man who gave up hope, who said God had shut out his prayers? It is no less than the prophet Jeremiah. “Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through” (Lamentations 3:44). But this could also be you and me during some crisis in our lives, when it seems God has shut the heavens. Do you cry with Jeremiah, “I am the one who has seen trouble. I’m in a situation I can’t seem to get out of”?
Do not think Jeremiah continued in despair! Like David, he came into a place of hope and victory. He remembered that his God was full of compassion and tender mercies: “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. . . . For the Lord will not cast off forever: but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies” (Lamentations 3:21-26, 31-32).
The psalmist David said, “For the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer” (Psalm 6:8-9). He has bottled every tear, received every cry, listened attentively to every prayer. You can rest assured that if you must go through a hot furnace of affliction, He will be right there with you. God has a purpose for everything He allows, and for every difficult trial He gives special grace.