Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. (Lam. 3:22)
Jeremiah, “the weeping prophet” author of Lamentations, is puzzling over the results of evil in Jerusalem, a once-great city, now under God’s judgment. The Israelites have not repented. They have proven that the more spiritual an exercise, the more difficult it is for flesh and blood to attain it. In the heart of the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah remembers the Lord’s mercies and compassions. Chapters of lament on both sides of these few short verses of hope. The word ‘mercy’ comes from the Latin, ‘Merced’, “price paid.” Wrapped in its meaning are forgiveness, benevolence, and kindness. It is God’s compassions that compel Him to act, for He tenderly loves and cares for all of His creation.
Our Lord, in His immeasurable compassion toward us, stretched out His arms on the cross over 2000 years ago. His arms still extend toward us today, overflowing with tender mercies. His lovingkindness is beyond measure. While on this earth, we, too, must carry our cross. Our Lord does not keep us from trouble, but He promises to be with us in trouble (Ro. 8:35). When we overcome the inevitable difficulties, the oil of the Holy Spirit is sparked within us, the flame begins to flicker, and our light starts to shine. How could we let our light shine in the darkness if we never encountered trials and temptations? When we are confident of His heart of love, His eyes of compassion, and His ears to hear, we know He hears our prayer. We dare not expect that He will always give us what we ask for. When we ask for self-gratification, and without an eye to His glory, we cannot expect that we will receive what we ask for. Though He has the power to consume us, though our guilt could provoke His justice, His compassions flow through Him and His mercies reach out to us in our agony and distress. Let us remember to keep His glory, His purposes, His will always at the forefront of our prayer.
Are you aware of Jesus’ mercies and compassions in your life? If ‘yes’, will you respond with a heart of thanksgiving? Does thanksgiving for His arms stretched out toward you flow through you and out of your lips? Or are you more like a thirsty sponge, a hungry petition, greedily asking and not thanking, suffering and not trusting, seeking your own comfort and not His glory? Though your peace, joy, and comfort may be gone for a season; His mercies, His goodness, and His compassions will never fail. For, “Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not. As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.”