Are you tired? Take this time to rest. Relax every part of yourself. Breathe slower. Don’t be prideful or stubborn. Be ready for what God has before you today.
Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24 (NRSV)
I am one who has seen affliction
under the rod of God’s wrath;
he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
against me alone he turns his hand,
again and again, all day long.
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away,
and broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me sit in darkness
like the dead of long ago.
He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has put heavy chains on me;
though I call and cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with hewn stones,
he has made my paths crooked.
The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
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.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Holy Week was a rush of activity: a fabulous parade of palms; confrontations with the Temple officials; a few last teachable moments; a new commandment to follow and a new meal to remember; betrayal, torture, injustice, and death. All of those things have brought us to today: Holy Saturday. We pause to catch our breath. Silently, we take stock of the week’s events, and wonder where we find ourselves in the story.
“Is it me, Lord? Have I betrayed you?” “Do I, like Peter, overestimate my own commitment to you?”
What does Jesus’ suffering say to me, as one of his followers? Am I willing to suffer, too, in order to live faithfully? And when suffering comes, do I, like Jesus, feel that God has abandoned me?
Today’s passage from Lamentations invites us to face suffering with hope. That’s often easier said than done. Re-read the passage, and remember: it is not our own will, strength of character, eternal optimism, or personal integrity that allows us to face tragedy with hope. God ever intended for us to carry that burden.
Our hope is in God alone: in God’s quiet mercy, fresh as the morning dew, and in God’s steadfast love, which never fails.
God of Hope,
whose mercies are new each morning;
whose loving compassion is rock solid;
whose faithfulness persists even in our times of doubt:
be with me this day.
Hear my cry for help.
Show me your light in my darkest hours.
Heal my brokenness.
Replace my anxiety with your peace.
Go with God.