Lamentations is one of those books of the Bible that people seldom turn to or quote in day-to-day exchanges about the greatness of God. When I first started reading it, I kind of thought, "Pretty dry stuff!" Then I came across this passage and it came alive! Who knew? Good stuff hidden in some pretty dry reading!
The merciful love of God - his loyal love - new every morning! Beyond the mundane of my today is the awesome of God's love! Woohoo! Look at the writer's disposition here. He is feeling pretty beat up by life. If you took the time to read the couple of chapters just before this, you'd see that he has been through some pretty ugly stuff and his walls seem to be coming in around him. Life has been a challenge and he is barely keeping up! Yet, in the midst of it all, he has made a determination of heart that keeps him steady - I am sticking with God! Sometimes, that is all we feel we have left in the midst of the toughest stuff we face in life - God and nothing else. The writer goes on to say, "God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks." What a hope for each of us!
Knowing my joy in looking at the meaning of words and seeing the "meat" contained in the various definitions of the word, you'll have to indulge me just a moment here while I explore the meaning of "passionately" and "waits". See, I don't really connect waiting with being passionate! I find the two ideas just a little bit at the opposite ends of my understanding. If I am passionate about something, I usually am pretty much driven by that passion - it energizes, it pulls me forward, and I am "active" in my passion. Waiting implies that I am not moving forward, perhaps not even very energized about the whole thing. So, why does this writer connect the two? Let's look.
Passionately carries the following meanings:
- To be affected by something so deeply that there is an expression of intensity within - kind of like an enthusiasm
- To be capable of being acted upon by some external agent or force - not dead to what once moved you deeply and can move you deeply once again
- To be moved in such a way that you exude fervor or zeal - intense emotion that compels you to act and not be immobile
Think of it this way - you are having your passions ignited by a holy and passionate God in order to be ready to respond to the moves he makes within your life! Even in the waiting, there needs to be the compelling of our heart to earnestly seek with a passion that comes from deep within. To this, the writer adds that we need to be diligent seekers. Steady, earnest, and energetic in our pursuit of God's best in our lives. Someone who seeks is one who makes every attempt to discover, to ask for or request in such a way that nothing else will satisfy until what is hidden is discovered completely. That is the absolute culmination of passionate waiting!