Hit the Re-Set Button!
Lamentations 3:21 ESV
‘But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:”
My phone crashed recently – disaster!! I tried everything but my poor phone had just had ‘had it’. To cut a long story short, it couldn’t get past the boot up stage. And kept repeatedly rebooting. In the end, it turned out that it needed a new battery and had to be re-set to factory settings. ‘A hard re-set’ they call it. The thing is, when you re-set to factory settings, you lose all your data. So I lost most of what was in my phone, except what was backed up to the cloud, and started again from scratch,
This has got me thinking for a couple of weeks; Like a computer or smartphone that defaults to certain settings, each of us have a ‘despair default’. If I haven’t configured my mind, by filling filling it with Truth (The Word of God. Truths about who God is, his character, his nature and who I am in Him) and then when I face difficulties I’m going to find myself sliding down the slippery slope of discouragement and complaint really fast. There are times in life when we need to re-set ourselves to factory settings. To clear our hearts and minds of all the junk we’ve been telling ourselves.
On a computer, tablet or smartphone, if you download an app that isn’t from the official app site, you’re taking a risk. You could end up with a virus that could damage your gadget. Thankfully there is that factory reset button.
Our hearts and minds are a bit like that. We need to save all those truths from The Word of God ‘to the cloud’ – to store up God’s Word in our hearts: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!” Psalms 119:11-12 ESV
The prophet Jeremiah had a default setting of “God is faithful.”
He faced some hard times. We read in Jeremiah 16:1-5, 8-9 that God told him not to marry or have children. Now, we know, reading this today and seeing the whole picture, that God had good reason for this. It saved Jeremiah from even greater heartache down the road. But sometimes, when we read about these Old Testament ‘Greats’ we can forget that they were just people, like us. Jeremiah felt loneliness at times. He felt unloved. He was an unpopular prophet, in his time, with a very unpopular message and the people let him know that. He felt the sting of their rejection. He was just an ordinary guy who loved The Lord.
If Jeremiah had just focused on those negative things that were filling his mind and the circumstances around him that threatened to bring him down; and if he had carried on speaking about them, he was going to discourage himself even more. He starts off in Lamentations 19 – 20. “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.”Then he breaks this pattern and cycle of despair. He seems to remember to be vigilant about what he allowed himself to think about. He remembers God’s goodness and faithfulness and His unfailing mercy. Jeremiah starts to focus on God’s attributes instead, reminding his heart of the Truths that he already knows but had temporarily forgotten to focus on. In doing that, he ‘hits the re-set button’, instantly changing his outlook.
Jeremiah forces himself to bring truth to the forefront of his mind and these truths sink into his heart and ‘re-set him’. What did Jeremiah ‘call to mind’. What was his ‘re-set button?
It tells us in verses 22-26
“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.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
(Lamentations 3:22-26 )
He needed to bring other things to mind to replace the ‘virus’ that had got into his system. He needed to call them up from his ‘hard drive’ and make himself think about what was true instead.
In times of discouragement and despair, it’s so tempting to just let rip with a good old ‘complain fest’.
We need to engage our will, and purposely and deliberately focus on things other than our problems. To force ourselves to remember truth. Recall a verse. Remember a time when God demonstrated His grace and mercy to us.
If I push God’s faithfulness and goodness to the front of my mind, even when I don’t feel like doing it, I feel hope begin to rise and heart re-sets!
So what does Jeremiah actually ‘call to mind’?
1. Verse 22. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed.” Why doesn’t God destroy us or consume us? He could if he wanted to. If left alone to our own devices our sins would consume us, if it were not for His lovingkindness and great love.
The word for “love” used here means “loyal love,”. It speaks of a
faithful love that will never let go because isn’t dependent on
emotion but on an act of the will. God’s love is loyal. God loves us
because He promised to love us and nothing, but NOTHING, can
cause Him to break His promise to love us. His covenant keeping
love includes making true the promises that He has made to us
who have entered into a father-child relationship with Him.
2. The second part of Verse 22 “for His compassions never fail.” Notice that the word ‘compassions’ is plural.; unusual in English, but it’s not a typo in the the Bible, it’s there for a reason. God’s compassions are plural because His compassion and his mercy is intense and limitless. The rivers of God’s mercy flow constant and full, and never run dry
The word compassion comes from the Hebrew word
“womb” [reem, in the plural for intensity] and shows us the gentle
feeling of concern and care that God has for us is like a mother has
for her new-born. The word literally means, “to be moved in the
heart out of love for another.” God’s compassion emanates from
deep within Him and flows into our lives. He is moved in His heart
when He thinks about you.
3. Verse 23a “They are new every morning.” What if you were to wake up every morning to find your wallet or purse full of money, your car full of petrol, your cupboards full of food, and your youth and vitality fully restored? That’s the way it is with God’s compassions and mercies. They are renewed to us every morning, they never run dry and You can never use them up. The moment we decide to turn our moaning and complaining into praise, our fearful declarations into faith-filled ones, is when we hit that re-set button in our hears and we start to see that change we long for.
If you are His, God is a faithful, covenant keeping God, who will never renege on his promises, will never leave you or forsake you and loves you beyond measure. If you find yourself between a rock and a hard place right now, and feel like venting, try declaring God’s faithfulness and goodness instead. Try saying out loud how much he loves you and cares for you. Keep saying it until your head stops telling your heart otherwise, and your heart starts to believe instead, what you are reminding yourself of.
This isn’t ‘mind over matter’, it’s a Biblical principle.
King David spoke to his own soul, saying “Why so downcast Oh my soul? Put your hope in God!”
He also knew how to press his re-set button.
We can do the same!
Jill McIlreavy 💜