Connections 10.02.2022: One Quiet Hope

Lamentations 1:1-6; 3:19-26

“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 that seeks him.

It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lam 3:22-26)

The book of Lamentations is a book for the people. Five long poems of lament put a whole community’s grief into words as the people of Israel come to terms with their exile from their home in God’s holy land. They must contend with what they have lost—and they have lost everything. They must also contend with the prophets’ proclamation that this exile is God’s punishment for the peoples’ unfaithfulness—and that this same God is the only one who can restore them to life.

Lamentations is a book for the people, but the poet does not leave the whole community wallowing in grief. At the near-center of this chapbook of lament, in the middle of chapter 3, there is a quiet word of hope.

This word is not a communal hymn or a rousing chorus and the poet does not call on the community to join in. This word is one mind thinking and one voice affirming the promises of God: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases” (3:21).

It is tempting to extract this section out of Lamentations, set it to music, make it a joyful noise with resounding organ chords and blaring trumpets—“Great is thy faithfulness!”—and try to forget the agony of exile. But here, in the mind and the mouth of the sole poet, this affirmation of hope is embedded in sorrow. Everything before and after it is desolation and destruction, pain, and pleading.

It cannot be plucked out of Lamentations because this word of hope does not come out of lament; it comes in lament. This quiet inner word only makes sense at the center of despair, in the silence of death, where even the smallest whisper can echo like a shout. Only here can one hushed voice give comfort to a whole community’s grief. Only here can we hear the soul speak: “The LORD is my portion, therefore I will hope in him.”


  • Think about current news stories or about past events. What instances of community grief can you think of? Who were voices of hope during that time? How did they speak of hope? Were they loud or quiet?
  • When you need a word of hope in your own life, where do you look and listen for it? Do you only hear it when it is proclaimed loudly? What does it take for you to hear the voice of your own soul? How do you practice listening for that voice?
  • Our world is rarely quiet, but the poet of Lamentations says, “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” How can a person waiting quietly have influence over a whole community? How can a person who quietly remembers God’s promises day after day communicate hope to people living in sorrow?
  • We are all sometimes tempted to “get over” grief. We’d like to sing out “Great is thy faithfulness” and not have to be reminded of the hardship that surrounds us. How does even the whisper of hope help us not to be overcome in the midst of despair?

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is the lead editor of Connections. She is a graduate of Samford University and Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and as a military spouse has had nine (at last count) different hometowns in the past 20 years. She and her husband Scott and sons Sam and Levi live in the Washington D.C. area. In recent years, Nikki has written Smyth & Helwys curricula as well as devotionals for and Baptist Women in Ministry. She weaves clergy stoles, knits almost anything, and dreams of making her dreadful novel drafts into readable books. She blogs about faith and making things at


For further resources, subscribe to the Connections Teaching Guide and Commentary. Additionally, the Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary series is a scholarly but accessible means for enhancing your study of each lesson.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email