EXCERPT FROM SERMON, LAMENTATIONS 3
I need to turn my focus from my pain to God’s love. I need to switch my attention from focusing on my problems and my pain and my pressure, my difficulties and I need to turn my focus onto God’s love. And even though I’m mad at God, I need to remind myself how much he loves me because his love isn’t based on what I do or what I say. His love is based on the fact that God is an unconditional loving God. God is love. So I can’t make God stop loving me. I can complain, he’s not going to stop loving me. I can rile and rail at him but it’s not going to stop him from loving me.
So the second thing I do after I’ve done this catharsis where I just go, God, I don’t like this. I didn’t want to lose that person. I didn’t want to lose that job. I didn’t want to lose that dream. I didn’t want to lose my health, well, then I turn my focus from my pain to God’s love. In the next verses Jeremiah says this, “The thought of my pain and my homelessness is bitter poison.” Boy, isn’t that the truth. He said, I think of it constantly. And what’s the result, my spirit is depressed.
Now let me stop right there. We’ve talked about this many times in this series on the invisible war that the battle against yourself, the battle against Satan, the battle against the world, the spiritual enemies that want to tear down your soul always is a mental battle. It’s in your mind.
If you want to change your life you have to change your thoughts. You have to switch your thoughts. You have to change the channel of your mind. And he says, “The thoughts, when I think about my pain and my homelessness,” he goes, “it’s bitter, it’s bitter poison.” And he says, I think of it constantly.
Okay, great, you are thinking of it constantly. How well is it working for you? He says, My spirit is depressed. Obviously, it isn’t working for him. And I’m telling you this, as long as you are sitting around going, This isn’t fair, This isn’t fair, This isn’t fair, you are going to be depressed. Your bitterness does no good, zero good. It doesn’t make you happier. It won’t change the situation.
So griping and arguing and complaining and whining is going to do nothing except make you depressed. And he says, The more I think about my how my world’s falling apart, the more I think about how unfair life is. And life isn’t fair because we talked about it last week, the whole world’s broken. The more I do that and I think about how it’s not right I just make myself more depressed. It’s a bitter poison. It’s eating you alive. You are not hurting that other person with your bitterness, you are hurting yourself.
So he contrasts it. He said, “The thought of my pain is bitter poison.” I think of it constantly. My spirit is depressed. Then he says, Yet — here is the switch — I turn my focus yet hope returns. When does hope return? Hope returns when I remember this one thing: What is the one thing he remembers? The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue. He says, Like as fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise, he says, I can count on God’s love. The Lord is all I have so in him I put my hope. You don’t know God is all you need until God is all you’ve got. And when you finally have lost it all and all you’ve got is God you go, Oh, okay. I’ve lost it all. God’s all I’ve got, but you know what, it’s all I need because God’s going to take care of me.
He says, “I turn my thoughts from my bitterness and I turn my thoughts to how much God loves me” and his mercy to me is new every morning and it’s everlasting and it’s eternal and it won’t stop and he’s never going to stop loving me.
I want you to write this thought down, I always make dumb mistakes when I doubt God’s love. I always make dumb mistakes when I doubt God’s love. Because when I doubt God’s love, I’m going to start thinking that I know better than God and I’m going to start choosing my way to do things rather than God’s way to do things. Now I need to turn my thoughts from my pain to God’s love.
Another example of this is the next verse down in verse 31. Even if I’ve lost everything, I’ve lost my job or I’ve lost my health or I’ve lost my marriage or I lost a baby or I lost something really precious to me, here is what you do, focus not on what I’ve lost but on what is left. Focus not on what’s lost but what’s left. Okay. I lost my job. What do I still have? I’m still alive. My heart’s still beating. I have my freedom. I’ve got my brain.