Walking with Jesus #57

Walking With Jesus 

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

Psalm 31 is a song of lament, yet this last verse is a word of encouragement, a word of faith and hope.  It is saying to us that lament is not the end of the story.  It is saying that even in the midst of our fear and sorrow, and our uncertainties in life, we can have confidence and look toward the future.  These are not cliché statements like we might hear when someone says “It’s going to be okay” or “Everything happens for a reason.”  No these words in the Psalm are words of trust in the very source of life itself, God, our creator and redeemer.

Lament does two things simultaneously.  It deals with anguish and expresses hope.  We often think that these two things cannot coexist.  Most of the time we feel we only can be in the dark places of life as either one or the other.  If we have hope, then we shouldn’t feel anguish.  If we feel anguish we will have no hope. Yet the psalmist tells us that in the very depth of our anguish, our darkest times, we can also have hope.

That is what we can hold onto in these times of the Coronavirus pandemic.  I am not saying that we don’t continue to fear the dreaded disease that surrounds us, but that in the midst of our fear and lament, in the midst of our tears and sorrow for those who are ill and those who are dying, we can also have hope in God and take courage that this time of anguish will pass as we wait for the Lord. And, while we wait we follow the cleanliness instructions we have been given by health officials to do our part in fighting the disease.

Bad times present us with a challenge and a choice. The challenge is a closer walk with God. The choice is for disappointment or faith. Many times we pray for deliverance. Save us, Lord, from this predicament. Many times, God answers that prayer, with an inner strength to carry on through the darkness and the battle. In either case, the challenge and the choice are the same. Come closer to the Lord; and choose faith over despair.

In his final moments on the cross, Jesus reflected on his challenge and choice. It was there that Jesus prayed scripture, “Into your hands O Lord, I commend my spirit. You redeem me, O Lord, faithful God.” (Luke 23:46). On the cross, Jesus reminded his enemies of his faith in God, by reciting Psalm 31:5.  Here he gave us an example of how anguish and hope can coexist. In our prayers this week let us thank God for giving the strength needed for others and for ourselves as we endure the fears and uncertainties with this pandemic.

Questions:

  1. As you pray this week will you remember to include a prayer of thanksgiving to God for strengthening you each day to face whatever comes with courage?
  2. Can you give praise and thanks to God for all those who are working night and day to save those who are ill and all those who are seeking ways to provide a vaccination against the Corona virus?