The Story of Life

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Your afflictions may have been painful and your wandering near-fatal, but because of the Lord’s great love for you, by His grace, I was not consumed.

I remember my affliction and my wandering....I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. —Lamentations 3:19–20 (niv)

Today, I’m plowing through the stack of books perched on my desk, searching for kernels to inform a new project I’ve just accepted. I pick one up, Story: Recapture the Mystery by Steven James, and find these words: God loves stories. He loves the people whose stories are being told moment by moment across the globe. And I’m amazed that the story of my choices, mistakes, regrets—the story of my life—actually matters to God.

Choices, mistakes, regrets—these are the three words that get me, that thrust me back in time. The banner that flew high over my life years ago quite aptly featured those words. I said too much, drank too much, promoted myself too much, pushed nearly every limit I could find. I loved God but refused His input, intent on my will, my wants, my way.

In the book of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah mourns the de­struction of his beloved city Jerusalem, which had been handpicked by God but then insisted on going its own way. He recounts Jerusalem’s demise, saying, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bit­terness and the gall ...and my soul is downcast within me.” But then he offers these words: “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 3:19–23).

I read these words with grateful eyes. My afflictions were painful, my wandering near-fatal and, yes, “downcast” described my soul. But because of the Lord’s great love for me, by His grace, I was not consumed.

Father, please let every hard remembrance of where I’ve been and what I’ve done serve only to point me toward You.
Digging Deeper: Lam 3
Written by Ashley Wiersma

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