I am the one who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the LORD ’s anger.
He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light.
He has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.
He has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones.
He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress.
He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead.
He has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains.
And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers.
He has blocked my way with a high stone wall; he has made my road crooked.
He has hidden like a bear or a lion, waiting to attack me.
He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces, leaving me helpless and devastated.
He has drawn his bow and made me the target for his arrows.
He shot his arrows deep into my heart.
My own people laugh at me. All day long they sing their mocking songs.
He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.
He has made me chew on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust.
Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the LORD is lost!”
The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words.
References for Lamentations 3:19
I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.
References for Lamentations 3:22
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD .
And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline:
Let them sit alone in silence beneath the LORD ’s demands.
Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last.
Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies.
For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.
If people crush underfoot all the prisoners of the land,
if they deprive others of their rights in defiance of the Most High,
if they twist justice in the courts— doesn’t the Lord see all these things?
Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission?
Does not the Most High send both calamity and good?
Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins?
Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD .
Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say,
“We have sinned and rebelled, and you have not forgiven us.
“You have engulfed us with your anger, chased us down, and slaughtered us without mercy.
You have hidden yourself in a cloud so our prayers cannot reach you.
You have discarded us as refuse and garbage among the nations.
“All our enemies have spoken out against us.
We are filled with fear, for we are trapped, devastated, and ruined.”
Tears stream from my eyes because of the destruction of my people!
My tears flow endlessly; they will not stop
until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees.
My heart is breaking over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem.
My enemies, whom I have never harmed, hunted me down like a bird.
They threw me into a pit and dropped stones on me.
The water rose over my head, and I cried out, “This is the end!”
But I called on your name, LORD, from deep within the pit.
You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!”
Yes, you came when I called; you told me, “Do not fear.”
Lord, you are my lawyer! Plead my case! For you have redeemed my life.
You have seen the wrong they have done to me, LORD . Be my judge, and prove me right.
You have seen the vengeful plots my enemies have laid against me.
LORD, you have heard the vile names they call me. You know all about the plans they have made.
My enemies whisper and mutter as they plot against me all day long.
Look at them! Whether they sit or stand, I am the object of their mocking songs.
Pay them back, LORD, for all the evil they have done.
Give them hard and stubborn hearts, and then let your curse fall on them!
Chase them down in your anger, destroying them beneath the LORD ’s heavens.