'' 'He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust...Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never
fail.'" (Lamentations 3:16. 21. 22 NIV)
The book of Lamentations was written by Jeremiah, the "weeping prophet". Because of his visions from God, Jeremiah knew of the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem and of the suffering and exile of his people. Lamentations is Jeremiah's song of grief for the souls of Jerusalem. Still, Jeremiah's constant underlying message is that HOPE IS IN THE LORD.
Have you ever been so busy singing your own funeral song that you missed the chorus of hope? Sorrow and grief are difficult to bear, but we all experience them from time to time. Sometimes, because we are human, we may experience some of these emotions to a greater degree than necessary by over-reacting to situations or by trying to handle a problem alone. (Oh, I didn't want to bother anybody...) Our intentions may be good, but it can lead to hopelessness.
Hopelessness. That's pretty much where I found myself the morning God sent me the steamin' heifer...
It was a rough time. I had recently been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition. The realization had begun to sink in that I would spend the rest of my life battling pain and fatigue. Medicines helped some of the symptoms, but caused new problems, and so on, and so on, and so on... I was relying on a cane to walk, and couldn't go up or down stairs at all. Me! The practical joker, who was always hopping around, being silly, and who -only eighteen months ago - had been jogging daily. Me, the single Mom, who always had the energy to work two jobs, be Mom and Dad and housekeeper and chauffeur and still manage to bake bread or color a poster or throw a party... It didn't make sense!
And it was January. And it was colder than usual for Georgia. And the holidays were over. And my daughter had gone back to college, hundreds of miles away. And I had told her of my illness. And it hadn't gone well.
Oh, I was grieving. I was sorrowful. I was so close to hopelessness. I was driving to work on the bitter cold morning, and there was a place in my heart far more cold and bitter than that frosty January air...
The heater in the car quit about halfway to work. It was "the last straw". It infuriated me! I ranted and raved. I asked, "Why? Why? WHY?!" There I was, driving those back country roads, yelling at God. "Why, after I've worked so hard all these years? WHY, when I've tried to be a good person all this time? WHY???"
One cow was lying down, but she stood up just as I got to the stop sign. Because of the difference between her body temperature and the cold air, huge wafts of steam drifted off that ol' heifer, and I laughed at the sight. And laughed. And laughed. You see, that ol' heifer was steamin'... JUST LIKE ME. And she looked pretty silly, which is what God had just told me.
The funeral dirge became a song of hope. And HOPE IS IN THE LORD, just as Jeremiah said. One never knows what instrument He might use to change the music in one's life. It might just be a silly song from a steamin' heifer.