Lamentations 3:19-33; Psalm 130; Psalm 22
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.”

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for one to bear
the yoke in youth,
to sit alone in silence
when the Lord has imposed it,
to put one’s mouth to the dust
(there may yet be hope),
to give one’s cheek to the smiter,
and be filled with insults.

For the Lord will not
reject forever.
Although he causes grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not willingly afflict
or grieve anyone.

Devotion

Sometimes everything is bleak and the only option is to wait. Our eyes to see the mercy of the Lord, our ears to hear Him – it has all vanished into smoke. The great gift of these waiting times is they help us to understand the depth of the problem. Who needs a savior if everything is ducky? Who needs mercy except one who has felt the shame of mistakes? Things that should have been done or things that should not have been done. Words that were hurtful, that were arrows into someone’s heart. Actions that were not kind.

Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins also knew, as the psalmist and author of Lamentations did, just how much despair can wrack us: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44398/no-worst-there-is-none-pitched-past-pitch-of-grief. World sorrow? Our own personal demons?

Yet mercy can be discovered even when you are alone in a hotel room on a business trip, and the aloneness suddenly is oppressive instead of freedom, suddenly a deep hole into which you are sinking into the all-too-familiar despair of just not being good enough, not able to keep running the race. What if clinging to hope in God’s goodness is too hard and fingers that are raw from clinging to that cliff slip and fall?

And then graciously and gently, as if a mother wrapped a soft blanket around you, there is God’s love. You don’t have to cling, or hope, or beg, or earn it, or fear it. You can let go, and God will not let go of you.

God’s got you.
You are beloved.

Prayer
Thank you Gracious God
For your steadfastness, for your compassion,
For your everlasting
Ever expanding and growing
Love.

Thank you Gracious God
For sending your son Jesus
To walk with us
To lead the way
To save us and love us.

As hard as waiting is
Joy comes in the morning
And love
Has already won.

Amen.

Rachel Russell