It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lam. 3:26)

JEREMIAH WAS A DOWNER. In fact, the pessimistic tenor of the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations led an eighteenth-century Frenchman to coin the term Jeremiad to refer to a prolonged complaint. It’s not like the prophet Jeremiah didn’t have reason to view his clay cup as half empty. Jeremiah remembered the sound of screaming children being slain in the temple, the smell of the temple burning to the ground, and the sight of a strange land where he’d spend the next seventy years as a slave.

Jeremiah suffered a spiritual depression, but he did not lose hope. Though God would have been justified to allow the Babylonians to completely wipe out Judah for their many acts of disobedience, out of His love for all the nations, He preserved a remnant.

“To wait quietly” means to assume a posture of prayer and expectation that the Lord will deliver us from harm. Indeed, this is the final component of how Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13). The good news is that God is faithful even when we are not. Love and mercy are the defining characteristics of God and His relationship with us. He must (and does) discipline us when we wander off, but He also runs out to welcome us back with a warm embrace and a lavish feast.

No matter what you fear today, trust in Christ to deliver you from it.

Steve Johnson teaches at United Christian Academy in Stanardsville, Virginia, and frequently preaches at area churches. He enjoys life with his wife and five-year-old son.