Bible Book: Daniel
Chapter: 1
Verse: 1
Verse (to): 6

Lamentations 1:1-6, 3:19-26

When I read the first 4 verses of Lamentations, they spontaneously bring the HIV and Aids pandemic to mind.
This past week I was privileged to attend a conference. A number of organisations directly involved in the struggle against the Aids pandemic – from several countries in Southern Africa – were present. As I listened to their stories about the impact of HIV and Aids – especially in rural communities – the picture that stuck in my mind is in many ways comparable to the picture that Jeremiah describes in Lamentations 1:1-4.
However, I did not only learn more about the devastating impact of HIV and Aids, but was amazed by the passion, courage and resilience displayed by those who continue to serve people in distress in spite of so many difficulties. Where does this come from? How and why can some find the courage to face the challenges and to stay committed, while so many people in our societies are either indifferent towards the Aids pandemic or overwhelmed by it?
I believe part of the answer lies in the confessions of Jeremiah in our Scripture readings: On the one hand he grieves passionately for his people’s afflictions (1:1-6). On the other hand he looks towards God for comfort (3:19-26). Without his passionate involvement in the suffering of his people, his hope in the steadfast love of God may have been no more than sanctimonious words. But when we read his confession in 3:22-23 we know: this is the language of a heart filled with agony looking up at the face of the living God. “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (RSV).
To see God in the midst of communities in distress is to find hope. And with hope there is courage to persevere.
To think about (or discuss): What can you do to encourage someone who is serving people in distress?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English