I am preparing to speak on a passage of scripture for a class I am taking. I choose a passage from the Old Testament: Lamentations 3:19-25. The first two verses of this passage say, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.” Last night as I was driving home from the class I am preparing this message for I said a short prayer, “Lord, help to truly understand these verses.” I should probably stop praying like that…

This afternoon, as I sat down to pay bills, my affliction became clear: how am I going to pay for everything. Money is so tight. And as I made a plan and hoped for provision, my vision became clouded with bitterness. For well over a year it has been such a stretch financially. We’ve done a ton to cut our expenses and we’ve tried to stick to a budget. My wife took a job closer to our home and church, but at a pay cut. I am working 3 part-time jobs – the church, subbing and for Starbucks. We are trying as hard as we can. 

We are doing our best and it just doesn’t seem like it is good enough. See, this is where the bitterness creeps in every time that I sit down to do my bills. I embrace the “affliction” of not having enough money and the reality of how that is going to play out in our life hits me. I then become, in a way, bitter, maybe even envious, which leads to my heart being sad that I can’t give everything great to my wife and friends that I desire. My heart becomes sad that the sacrifices I have made haven’t been enough and that more sacrifice is going to be needed in order to keep going. That means doing less and giving less and my soul becomes more and more downcast. 

After paying my bills I went for a little walk, to the mail box, just to clear my head. The weather here is starting to change. We’ve had a very warm November so far, but today the clouds are coming in, the sun is gone and the wind is circulating. And as I walked, my downcast soul was stirred with hope. Verse 21 of Lamentations 3 says, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope…” I walked back to our house thinking through so many of the great things we have going on in our lives. I became excited for the weekend – we have our newly marrieds Bible study and some new friends are coming over for dinner. And, we have this awesome church family we’ll re-connect with this weekend through worship. 

I got back to the house and sorted through the mail. I opened up a card that was a ‘thank-you’ note from some friends for the wedding gift we got them. Honestly, I almost didn’t read it because I thought it was just a simple thank-you, but I ended up reading the whole card. They not only thanked us the gift, but they thanked us for impacting their lives. Hope began to flow and I started to feel that my current “affliction” of a lack of financial resources was worth it almost, knowing that we were making a difference and that our friends value us, not just the gift we gave. 

Lamentations 3 continues by saying, “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. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” That simple prayer request that I made last night on the drive home was being answered right before. And the thank-you card was a boost, it was a moment that served to restore my hope, it was an element God used to show me His love. So I prayed again, a short, simple prayer: “Thank you Lord for allowing me to be used by you. I trust in your provision for our lives and I will not let this affliction consume me.”

I finished opening up the mail and ended by opening up another card. It was a card from a church I had spoken at a few weeks ago and in their card was a gift. A gift that will more than help with my “affliction.” I was no expecting this at all. Yet, in one way, I wasn’t surprised by the faithfulness of the Lord either. I sat there say, “this is so God…this is so God…” 

Just enough is more than enough for me. It will meet our needs. God’s great love kept me from truly being consumed. He knew my need and showed me compassion at just the right time. The Lord is my portion, and I will gladly wait for Him.

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