But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. (Lamentations 3 v 21-24)
The Book of Lamentations is thought to have been written after the fall of the great city Jerusalem. Carnage was rife, suffering was immense for everyone there, and their situation was desperate. How then can the writer pen a verse so full of hope and joy?
We have had our share of suffering in the last year, and this weekend we will remember the tremendous suffering that Jesus endured on the cross - but that's not all. We will also remember and celebrate the life-giving hope that we now have, because of his resurrection, and his conquering of death and suffering. In the Christian life, hope cannot be separated from suffering. Christians worship a God who does not watch us suffer from a distance, from the comfort of his heavenly throne - He is with us IN our suffering, He is the bearer OF our pain, and He IS the embodiment of hope. There truly is none like Him.