By Alexa Hess
Waking up is the worst time of day for me. Not just because I’m not a morning person but because of what happens in my mind. Within seconds of my alarm going off, my mind is filled with anxious thoughts about my day. Some mornings aren’t so bad, but on other mornings, it feels like a tidal wave of anxiety hits me before my feet have even met the floor. Thoughts crash over me like: I’m not capable of doing what I need to do today. I’m letting people down. What if I fail? My first reaction to try and drown out these thoughts is to reach for my phone. But this only piles on more anxiety as work emails, news articles, and Instagram posts pop up. All of this happens within the first five minutes of waking up, and some days, it makes me want to stay in bed. We don’t realize how the way we start our morning shapes the rest of our day. If we succumb to anxious thoughts early, we will live our day on edge. If we believe the lies that fill our minds in the morning, everything we do feels hopeless. But what if there was something else that meets us in the morning other than anxious thoughts?
In the book of Lamentations, an anonymous author pens laments in response to the turmoil Israel has experienced from being in exile. Lamentations 3:19-20 captures this person’s grief as he expresses the sufferings he has experienced. “Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.” References to wormwood and gall are used as metaphors to communicate bitterness and sorrow. In remembering his painful experiences, the author’s soul is downcast. But even in the midst of deep suffering, the author breaks away from his painful cries to proclaim truth about the Lord. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
In these verses, the author’s thought process is on full display. He is honest about how remembering his suffering leads him to a downcast soul. But this person also decides to call something else to his mind—the mercies of the Lord. The author writes how the mercies of the Lord never come to an end, and they are new every morning. This truth about God’s grace is what gives him hope amid painful circumstances. We may not be experiencing the same kind of circumstance as Israel, but an anxiety-ridden brain knows what it is like to feel downcast. As we wake in the morning, we have a decision to make. We can either drown in our anxieties or call to mind the mercies of the Lord.
Calling to mind the mercies of the Lord involves rehearsing the truth of the gospel. Because of our relationship with Jesus Christ, we have received grace that will never depart from us. His grace is not a one-time transaction but a gift that keeps on giving. This means that the Lord’s mercies meet us in every part of our day. Every mistake that we might make, every sin we might commit, every troubling circumstance we might face will all be met with God’s mercy. This has profound implications over how we view the day ahead. Instead of fearing what is to come, we can rest in the mercies of the Lord. This compels us to move forward in our morning confidently instead of shrinking back into a place of hopelessness. His mercies will carry us through.
What a comfort it is to know that even if anxieties remain, God’s mercies remain as well. The fact that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases reveals how our Heavenly Father will never withhold His mercies from us. Nothing that we do can cause God’s mercies to cease. His mercies are never contingent on our faithfulness but His faithfulness toward us. There is freedom in knowing that God’s grace is with us no matter how our day ends up playing out. Even if our “what ifs” and doubts over our day come true, God’s mercies remind us that there is still another day to try again. And because His mercies never end, they will meet us again tomorrow. Anxieties may be new every morning, but so are God’s mercies. And His mercies are far greater than our anxieties.