Tag Archives: despair

Things can only get better

When I finished my initial ministerial training, this was the song we chose to “perform” at our leavers show.  In one sense it was chosen to be tongue in cheek, but in others a statement of faith.  For me my time in training had, rightly, been a time of formation, of knocking down, of testing. At times it had felt like there was nothing left – and yet…

There are times like this for us all – times of illness, despair, hard times, times when we feel all alone, times when life feels desolate…

For the people of Israel, they were in exile.  Far from home, held captive, as the Good News Bible puts it in its introduction to Isaiah, “Crushed and without hope”

When things are bad, they seem very bad.  We cannot see that there will ever be anything other than the wilderness.  It seems a long way out.  Yet God promises that there will be a better time, a time of release and peace.

Into that wilderness, God still brings his promise – there is hope, things will get better.  Where there are now only weeds, there can be strong growth; where there is captivity, there will be freedom; where there is dryness, there will be water.

Things are not over, than can be new life. God steps into the reality of where we are and brings hope.

 

Things not only can, but will, get better.

 

God will bring this to be.

 

Lord,

I thank you,

that however bleak things seem,

whatever the despair,

the depths of the wilderness we find ourselves in,

you bring your hope,

your freedom,

your release.

Thank you Lord

for what you have done

Facing the demons

Lamentations 3:19-33

19Just thinking of my troubles

and my lonely wandering

makes me miserable.

20That’s all I ever think about,

and I am depressed.

21Then I remember something

that fills me with hope.

22The LORD’s kindness never fails!

If he had not been merciful,

we would have been destroyed.

23The LORD can always be trusted

to show mercy each morning.

24Deep in my heart I say,

“The LORD is all I need;

I can depend on him!”

25The LORD is kind to everyone

who trusts and obeys him.

26It is good to wait patiently

for the LORD to save us.

27When we are young,

it is good to struggle hard

28and to sit silently alone,

if this is what

the LORD intends.

29Being rubbed in the dirt

can teach us a lesson;

30we can also learn from insults

and hard knocks.

31The Lord won’t always reject us!

32He causes a lot of suffering,

but he also has pity

because of his great love.

33The Lord doesn’t enjoy

sending grief or pain.

The Book of Lamentations is a collection of poems lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.  Mourning, sorrow and grief are poured out.  This passage is one man’s response to the stark reality of desolation – being in the wilderness.

What today are we mourning – in the valley, in the wilderness?

Being caught up in our troubles can be so traumatic.  Sometimes we just cannot face the pain and anguish, it is too much for us to bear.

Yet, at some point we need to be with it.  To feel it.  Until we do, it is always there – waiting.

The same is true of other things in our lives that we try to avoid – our fears, those things we know shouldn’t really be there.  Until we take the time and space to face them, they always have the potential to leap out at us and trip us.

Jesus went into the wilderness to face his demons, to prepare his life.  In facing his demons he knew what they were, and how he was going to live with them.  If he had not done that they would always have been his Achilles heel, an opportunity for the devil to come at him and trip him up.

Facing the wilderness within us is painful.  But at some point we have to do it.

If Lent is our opportunity to take time out to reflect, to spend some time in the wilderness, knowing that God is there, perhaps this is the time.

Thinking of our troubles, and wandering alone in the wilderness do make us miserable, but so much more does living with those things in our lives unchallenged. In that truth, hope returns:

“The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy continue”

Sweeping things under the carpet leaves a huge pile to fall over, facing it in the light and truth of God gives him the power over it all.  Troubles in our life will still be there, but they are faced in the knowledge of them, and the love and mercy of God.

However desolate we feel, God’s love continues.  He does not always lift us straight out of that place, but he is most definitely with us in it.

Who or what else is there to put our trust in?

 

Lord I bring to you

my struggle,

my pain,

my despair,

my anger,

my frustration.

It sit with it

with you.

And I wait

as your unfailing love and mercy continue

and help me to live