New Every Morning
Some might describe it as a coincidence, but I see God’s hand in it. It began a few weeks ago when I bought a book of daily devotions called ‘New Morning Mercies’ by Paul David Tripp’ (great book, and author). The book’s title is based on Lamentations 3:22-23,
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.
As I began reading, I rummaged through my desk for something to mark my place in the book. Lo and behold, the LLL text card I found had the same verse on it. A few mornings later, during my devotional time, I opened the lectionary at the readings for the following Sunday and guess what verse was listed? Lamentations 3:22-33!
I reflected on the words of a hymn – chosen ‘randomly,’ or so I thought – whose first verse goes:
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy: Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray, your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.
What was God saying to me by this recurring theme of morning mercies? I thought about the fact that there are so many deeply concerning things in our world, in our church, perhaps even in our own lives. When we look at the bigger picture, the enormity of it all can get us down. We are easily consumed by worry, fear and despondency.
That is where Jeremiah was before he wrote these verses. (Let’s not forget that his book is called ‘Lamentations’ for a reason.) In verses 19-20 of the same chapter, he wrote:
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet God lifted Jeremiah to the place where he learned to focus on the daily mercies – love and compassion – of God, rather than the affliction and bitterness; the place from which he could say:
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have 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.
That is the truth that God is calling me to remember and to share with you. While we can’t ignore the bigger picture of affliction and bitterness, God calls us to allow the knowledge of his ‘new morning mercies’ to sustain us, just as Jesus also calls us to pray ‘this day’ for our ‘daily bread.’ As proof of his goodness, God gives the new morning mercy of his own Son’s resurrection.
As we reflect on his new morning mercies, we may find ourselves bearing witness with Jeremiah:
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Or perhaps even singing with Jeremiah, as paraphrased by the hymnwriter:
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me! Thomas Chisolm, (1866–1960)
Pastor Lester Priebbenow
District Bishop, Victoria and Tasmania