In our Bible study last week, we looked at how troublesome thoughts can trip us up. (1 Samuel 27) We discussed the powerful effect of our thoughts on our moods and actions. David effectively believed a lie, that Saul would eventually kill him instead of trusting God to be his protector and deliverer, and this led to a period of conflict as he lived under foreign protection and remained a fugitive fighting against his people.

Jeremiah the prophet lived during a time of spiritual idolatry and God’s judgment (which may well resonate with many of us today.) He spoke about the exile and lived through the ravages of war and loss. Unsurprisingly given these circumstances, there were times when his soul was downcast. (Lam 3:19-20)
What do we do with our troublesome thoughts and feelings of despondency? Jeremiah gives us the answer in Lamentations 3:21-24.
He remembers God’s character, word and promises. He calls them to mind (which implies conscious effort, a choice to dwell on God more than on his circumstances.) He thinks about God’s goodness and compassion, about God’s love and faithfulness. He thinks about the grace of fresh starts (‘they are new every morning.’) He does what Paul tells us to do and thinks about good things (see Phil 4:8).
He also talks to himself (something we all do!), but speaks truth: ‘I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him.”‘ (Lam 3:24) He connects what he believes to what he will do.
If we are to win the battle for our minds and hearts, we must do as Jeremiah did and refuse to remain in despondency and despair. We must choose to think of God and to speak truth in our own souls. Instead of fixing our thoughts in a loop of negativity based on the visible, we must fix our eyes, mind, heart and thoughts on Jesus (see Heb 12:1-3). Then hope will arise and we can rejoice, no matter what.