Lamentations 4 and 5 with Proverbs 3.
You, O Lord, reign forever; Your throne endures for all generations. (Lamentations 5:17)
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments. (Proverbs 3:1)
So, when things go bad, we just need to learn the lesson God intended, repent of our individual sins, and then be rescued from the trial. Right?
Not so fast.
The writer of Lamentations (again, presumably Jeremiah) found hope by recalling to mind the steadfast love of the Lord in chapter 3. And then came chapters 4 and 5.
Repentance and forgiveness made Jeremiah right with the Lord, but the nation was still under judgment and as a resident of Jerusalem Jeremiah was not spared. Th calamities of chapters 4 and 5 are WORSE than the first two chapters. I’ll spare the details, but imagine the worst of human behavior and magnify it exponentially (or read the chapters for yourself).
Jesus told his disciples (including us) that hard times (tribulation) are part of living in this world. Even though we are OF another kingdom, that is, the eternal kingdom of God, we are subject to the rulers and natural laws of earth.
Natural law (sickness, weather, gravity) does not disappear when we choose to follow Jesus. Human nature (selfish to the core) is the thing we all fight against in ourselves and see in others during times of chaos (pandemic hoarding comes to mind).
Part of Jerusalem’s sin was corrupt teaching (Lamentations 2:14) and bad governments (Lamentations 4:12). Certainly we have plenty of both in 2020. But collective wrong-doing is not an excuse for lazy faith. In fact, individuals must be more diligent than ever in proclaiming the love and mercy of God. Jeremiah never swayed from his commitment to proclaiming the truth, even as he suffered with the nation.
Do not be discouraged when the storm continues to rage even when you know you are right in your personal relationships with God and others. Chaos is the default for this world, but the Lord reigns forever. As bad as things may be (or get), and as long as hard times last, they will NOT outlast God, who is ETERNAL.