Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. (Lamentations 3:19-21)
Our souls do remember and they are either bowed down or bowed up. Experiences are suspended in our memories and exposed to our wills where they become either roots of bitterness or sources of hope. Wormwood and bitterness are formidable enemies of the human spirit. They daily crouch at the door of every human life with devouring intent. The great men and women in scripture always prevailed in hope which was established as they walked out their days with hearts bowed down.
What does a bowed down heart look like? This might evoke images of one overly submitted to the inevitability of trial upon divinely appointed trial, one shoe dropping after the other, as though life is the gauntlet designed by God to bend our stiff necks in the right direction. From experience, I am convinced this orientation to life with God betrays wormwood’s infiltration. This soul is remembering its lot as a fallen creature and agreeing with Solomon, “All of life is futility and striving after the wind.” Solomon may have been the wisest man on earth; John the Baptist may have been the greatest of all men, but the very least of God’s reborn sons and daughters have legitimate claims on hope neither of these persons enjoyed.
Those in whom the Spirit has taken up residence (and is being allowed to express Himself) have an advantage these men did not enjoy. The Spirit always points to the Father and the Son. When the Spirit is allowed to do this, futility (wormwood’s claims) are undermined. Even if it seems we are wandering, our hand is being held by God. Those who persevere in life accumulate memories verifying God’s presence in their lives and they proclaim;
The Lord‘s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
I am awaiting GTN’s (God’s Television Network) broadcast where saints whose chairs or beds are wheeled to the microphone. They will give their account of the hope that is within them, after the proverbial shoe has inexplicably fallen. Perhaps a spiritual Giraldo Rivera will arise, taking the mic to places where free markets have not insulated souls from exposure to the harshness of life. Maybe there, he will find saints who have walked with Jesus, in a vacuum of material blessing, who will share with the world;
“The Lord is my portion, therefore I have hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:24)
The heart that is bowed down looks more like a well-love child’s presumptuous heart. It does not instinctively presume the worst. It looks to its parent with innocence, anticipating good. The parent is the child’s true portion. The child’s hope rests with this person, whatever it encounters.
Father, you are our ultimate good in the presence of all life’s variables. Even when our grip fails, we discover your mercies are never ending. Each new day, may we keep wormwood at bay with our thanksgiving for Your great faithfulness. You Lord are our portion and cup. May our hearts be satiated in You. May they live to tell. Amen.