New Every Morning acrostic reflection

This acrostic was written for a poetry competition on the theme of “new”. Its inspiration lay in the book of Lamentations, where Jeremiah laments the sack of Jerusalem by Babylon’s army. His picture of physical destruction and human loss is harrowing. This book is an unlikely place to find a couplet of the most inspiring verses in the Bible.

However, even in the midst of desolation Jeremiah declares that God will not fail his people, but will stay with them and bring them hope:  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).

In an equally well-known passage, the prophet Habakkuk declares: Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour (Habakkuk 3:17-18). The prophet despairs as he considers how God is apparently deaf and blind to the prosperity of unjust and violent people. Yet in the end he is so certain of God’s righteousness that he proclaims: For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (2:14).  He concludes: The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights (3:19).

The Christian life isn’t a bed of roses. Sometimes we may even envy the apparent ease of non-Christians. (Although if I could pass on one piece of advice to young people it would be that the grass on the other side of the fence isn’t actually greener). Sometimes the Christian is inclined to think, in the words of Coldplay’s The Scientist, “Nobody said it was easy, No one ever said it would be this hard”.

But, as Jeremiah and Habakkuk remind us, there is always light, even though at times it may be occluded. There is no shame in acknowledging that Christians can suffer from clinical depression; more often, it may be a matter of low mood. Both may require professional intervention. But in all circumstances Christian friends can help rekindle the flame – through prayer, friendship, constancy, fellowship, trust and faith.

There is no quick fix, but God and His co-workers carry us through tough times more than we realise.

Night falls. For some, it’s very dark.
Evening’s stars hunker down behind cloud;
Where lamps glowed, now there’s barely a spark.

Empty hearts break, black-dog heads are bowed.
Very faintly on the breeze someone chants a prayer,
Echoing its hope somebody lights a candle –
Risible weapons against a world’s despair
Yet still too hot for Hell’s hordes to handle.

Moonlight still dances behind its shroud
Oceans still yield their gentle luminescence
Rims of silver trim each nimbus cloud –
Nocturnal sentinels of a numinous presence.
In a few short hours the boundless day will dawn
New promises will comfort those who mourn
God’s mercies are, with each fresh sun, re-born.

(New Every Morning appears on my Old Testament: Books of Prophecy page).