READ: Lamentations 1
THINK: The usage of the word silhouette in modern language has quite an interesting history. In the 1700’s, the practice of purchasing and displaying silhouettes – shadow profiles cut out of black paper – became commonplace as a cheaper alternative to full portraits, but the term itself came from the name of an infamous French government official. Étienne de Silhouette served as controller of general finance in France, and during the Seven Years War with England he attempted to raise extra war funds by imposing heavy taxes on the wealthy. Those who were on the receiving end of the high taxes complained bitterly about the situation and began using the term silhouette to talk about the fact that their wealth was being reduced to nothing more than a shadow of what it used to be.
Jeremiah lamented over the destruction of Jerusalem in the book of Lamentations. He looked out and beheld a once magnificent city and temple now destroyed by war. In verse 12, he cried out “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the Lord brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?” The sorrow and pain caused by the brokenness and frustration of his current situation were more than he could bear. His heart was truly broken.
But his heart didn’t remain broken. He knew that God was in control, sovereign over all things, and he trusted that God had a great purpose in the suffering that the nation of Israel was undergoing. He eventually came to a place where he wrote “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. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (3:21-24).
There are times in life when sorrow and brokenness and suffering make us feel like our lives are a silhouette of what they once were or of what we’d like them to be – just a dark shadow that doesn’t accurately reflect the hopes, dreams, and aspirations that we have. Maybe you are in that place right now. Maybe you know somebody else who is. Take heart! You don’t have to live in despair forever. Remember that, despite the difficulty, God is in control! And he is not a God who abandons us to our brokenness. He is the God who makes all things new and his mercies are new every morning! God’s light overcomes all the shadows of this broken world.
PRAY: Can you think of a time when you felt like your life was no more than a silhouette of what you wished it was. Tell God about that time and how it made you feel; don’t be afraid to be open and honest with him. Then cast all of your cares and burdens upon him and thank him for that fact that he is in control and that he holds our hope and our future in his hands. Worship him for making all things new!