“How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave” (1:1). And so begins the lamentations of Jeremiah who speaks with many other writers of Scripture in expressing his pain and disappointment and dismay at what God has allowed to happen.
A terrible fate has fallen on Jerusalem, and though the prophet understood it to be necessary (“The Lord is in the right, 1:18), still, he mourned deeply and cried out to those who failed to weep with him: “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?” (1:12) How deeply he mourned as he spoke of “terrors on every side” (2:22) and of the anger of the Lord from which no one escaped or survived (2:22). But then. But then!! “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; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him’” (3:21-24). Like Horatio Spafford, even when so deeply mourning in his soul, Jeremiah could sing:
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul.