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Lamentations 3 (New International Reader's Version)

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1 I am a man who has suffered greatly. The LORD has used the Babylonians to punish our people. 2 He has driven me away. He has made me walk in darkness instead of light. 3 He has turned his powerful hand against me. He has done it again and again, all day long. 4 He has worn my body out. He has broken my bones. 5 He has surrounded me and attacked me. He has made me suffer bitterly. He has made things hard for me. 6 He has made me live in darkness like those who are dead and gone. 7 He has built walls around me. I can't escape. He has put heavy chains on me. 8 I call out and cry for help. But he won't listen to me when I pray. 9 He has put up a stone wall to block my way. He has made my paths crooked. 10 He has been like a bear waiting to attack me. He has been like a lion hiding in the bushes. 11 He has dragged me off the path. He has torn me to pieces. And he has left me helpless. 12 He has gotten his bow ready to use. He has shot his arrows at me. 13 The arrows from his bag have gone through my heart. 14 My people laugh at me all the time. They sing and make fun of me all day long. 15 The LORD has made my life bitter. He has made me suffer bitterly. 16 He made me chew stones that broke my teeth. He has walked all over me in the dust. 17 I have lost all hope of ever having any peace. I've forgotten what good times are like. 18 So I say, "My glory has faded away. My hope in the LORD is gone." 19 I remember how I suffered and wandered. I remember how bitter my life was. 20 I remember it very well. My spirit is very sad deep down inside me. 21 But here is something else I remember. And it gives me hope. 22 The LORD loves us very much. So we haven't been completely destroyed. His loving concern never fails. 23 His great love is new every morning. Lord, how faithful you are! 24 I say to myself, "The LORD is everything I will ever need. So I will put my hope in him." 25 The LORD is good to those who put their hope in him. He is good to those who look to him. 26 It is good when people wait quietly for the LORD to save them. 27 It is good for a man to carry a heavy load of suffering while he is young. 28 Let him sit alone and not say anything. The LORD has placed that load on him. 29 Let him bury his face in the dust. There might still be hope for him. 30 Let him turn his cheek toward those who would slap him. Let him be filled with shame. 31 The Lord doesn't turn his back on people forever. 32 He might bring suffering. But he will also show loving concern. How great his faithful love is! 33 He doesn't want to bring pain or suffering to people. 34 Every time people crush prisoners under their feet, the Lord knows all about it. 35 When people refuse to give a man his rights, the Most High God knows it. 36 When people don't treat a man fairly, the Lord knows it. 37 Suppose people order something to happen. It won't happen unless the Lord has planned it. 38 Troubles and good things alike come to people because the Most High God has commanded them to come. 39 A man who is still alive shouldn't blame God when God punishes him for his sins. 40 Let's take a good look at the way we're living. Let's return to the Lord. 41 Let's lift up our hands to God in heaven. Let's pray to him with all our hearts. 42 Let's say, "We have sinned. We've refused to obey you. And you haven't forgiven us. 43 "You have covered yourself with the cloud of your anger. You have chased us. You have killed our people without pity. 44 You have covered yourself with the cloud of your anger. Our prayers can't get through to you. 45 You have made us become like trash and garbage among the nations. 46 "All of our enemies have opened their mouths wide to swallow us up. 47 We are terrified and trapped. We are broken and destroyed." 48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes. That's because my people are destroyed. 49 Tears will never stop flowing from my eyes. My eyes can't get any rest. 50 I'll sob until the LORD looks down from heaven. I'll cry until he notices my tears. 51 What I see brings pain to my spirit. All of the people in my city are suffering so much. 52 Those who were my enemies for no reason at all hunted me down as if I were a bird. 53 They tried to end my life by throwing me into a deep pit. They threw stones down at me. 54 The water rose and covered my head. I thought I was going to die. 55 Lord, I called out to you. I called out from the bottom of the pit. 56 I prayed, "Please don't close your ears to my cry for help." And you heard my appeal. 57 You came near when I called out to you. You said, "Do not be afraid." 58 Lord, you stood up for me in court. You saved my life and set me free. 59 Lord, you have seen the wrong things people have done to me. Stand up for me again! 60 You have seen how my enemies have tried to get even with me. You know all about their plans against me. 61 Lord, you have heard them laugh at me. You know all about their plans against me. 62 You have heard my enemies whispering among themselves. They speak against me all day long. 63 Just look at them sitting and standing there! They sing and make fun of me. 64 Lord, pay them back. Punish them for what their hands have done. 65 Cover their minds with a veil. Put a curse on them! 66 Lord, get angry with them and hunt them down. Wipe them off the face of the earth.
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