There is no hope at the end of Lamentations. There is only the fear that God, in an anger that is beyond measure, has utterly rejected His people.
He has not, of course.
It just looks that way. And feels that way.
But if it looks and feels that way, how is Israel to know any better? How are we?
The key to hope when all seems lost is to know the story. It isn’t the first time God’s people have suffered – not even the first time God’s people have suffered for sin. Every time, God returns to His people. He does it because of His nature: He is faithful. He does it because of His love: it is forever. He will return to bless His people.
Likewise, when we find ourselves under the disciplining hand of God, He may seem away. Far away. But He will return. Our trust is not in what we see, for what we see can look fairly hopeless. Our trust has to be in what we know.
And that’s why it is so important to know the story, reading it in God’s word.