I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath.

Lamentations 3:1

In the popular series of British children’s books Where’s Wally? (or, as it’s known in North America, Where’s Waldo?), readers find themselves scurrying all over the page looking for a funny-looking fellow wearing red-and-white striped clothes who nonetheless is hard to spot in his suspiciously similarly-colored surroundings. In a similar manner, when we read our Bibles, we can find ourselves doing a comparable exercise, only instead of searching for a man in a red-and-white striped sweater and glasses, we ask ourselves, “Where am I?” We wonder which character we are like, or how a verse speaks directly of us and about us.

Yet the real question we should be asking is “Where’s Jesus?”—for He is the primary focus of the Bible.

The truth is that if we really want to find ourselves in Scripture, we will discover that a large part of the story is about us. Yet that part is not very flattering. The Bible reveals us to be wretched sinners, who need a Savior. This is why we must train our eyes to look for that Savior when we read our Bibles. As has been said, in the Old Testament Jesus is expected, in the Gospels He’s revealed, in Acts He’s preached, in the Epistles He’s explained, and in the book of Revelation He’s anticipated.

When we read Lamentations 3 with Jesus as our focus, seeking Him rather than looking for ourselves, we will discover that He is clearly present. The chapter opens with the prophet Jeremiah declaring, “I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath” (Lamentations 3:1). Who is more fit to utter those words than Jesus? On the cross, Jesus bore the wrath of God so that those of us who rightly deserved God’s condemnation might be saved through the judgment that He endured in our place. That’s the story of the gospel: another has done for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. In truth, then, as you read this verse, you do not see yourself here at all, even though you should—for you do see Christ here. He “redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). Whatever trials you face as a Christian in this life and however inexplicable they feel, of one thing you can be sure: God is not punishing you in His wrath. All that was poured out upon another, on the cross.

As you read of God’s persevering faithfulness to His downtrodden people in Lamentations 3, remember that “he who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” is also the one who will “graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32). And as you read of the man who saw affliction under the rod of God’s wrath, rejoice that this verse speaks not of you but of Him.

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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.