Evening, May 28, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“This I recall to my mind; therefore I have hope.” — Lamentations 3:21
Memory is frequently the bondslave of hopelessness. Despairing minds call to remembrance every dark foreboding event in the past, and amplify every gloomy feature in the present; thus memory, clothed in sackcloth, presents to the mind a cup of mingled vinegar and bitterness. There is, however, no necessity for this. Wisdom can readily transform memory into an angel of comfort. That same recollection which in its left hand brings so many gloomy omens, may be trained to bear in its right hand a wealth of hopeful signs. She need not wear a crown of iron, she may encircle her brow with a circlet of gold, all spangled with stars. Thus it was in Jeremiah’s experience: in the previous verse memory had brought him to a deep humiliation of soul: “Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me;” and now this same memory restored him to life and comfort. “This I recall to my mind; therefore I have hope.” Like a two-edged sword, his memory first killed his pride with one edge, and then slew his despair with the other. As a general principle, if we would exercise our memories more wisely, we might, in our very darkest distress, strike a match which would instantaneously kindle the lamp of comfort. There is no need for God to create a new thing upon the earth in order to restore believers to joy; if they would prayerfully rake the ashes of the past, they would find light for the present; and if they would turn to the book of truth and the throne of grace, their candle would soon shine as in the past. Let our part be to remember the lovingkindness of the Lord, and to review his deeds of grace. Let us open the volume of recollection which is so richly illuminated with memorials of mercy, and we shall soon be happy. Thus, memory may be, as Coleridge calls it, “the bosom-spring of joy,” and when the Divine Comforter bends it to his service, it may be foremost among earthly comforters.