In the book of Lamentations, we get to attend five worship services with the ancient Hebrews. The poems were written by different people at different times, but they all have the common theme of learning the lessons of past experiences and keeping the faith. The tragic destruction of Jerusalem is memorialized with deep sorrow but with hope for the future. In a sense the poems "eternalize the destruction" so that the horrible events have a permanent place in memory. It's interesting that this lesson coincides with my church's preparation for a similar memorial service --- the 10th anniversary of 9-11. We like for our catastrophes to mean something. It seems important to us that we remember.
God has created a world that includes both good and evil. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, "I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life." God has given us the power to choose life, but the option to choose death. The book of Lamentations doesn't explain suffering or offer a way to eliminate it, but insists that God enters our suffering and is our companion in it. It is through the act of remembering the experience that we have hope.
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
Every morning we experience a mini-resurrection as we awaken from our sleep to discover that God's mercies are new each day. We remember, and we are healed.