Monday, May 14, 2012

It's a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God . . .

That's the heading for Lamentation 3: 19-32 in The Message.  If you have been a blog follower over the last few years or if you have known me over even more years, you know that Lamentations 3:22-23 have long been special verses to me.  I believe them to be true in every situation.  God's faithfulness never fails and it is what sustains me.  I'll always be indebted to my friend, Helen Sloop Martin, who introduced them to me while we students at Belhaven.  Recently, as I was reading Lamentations I discovered other verses in that chapter that really spoke to my heart.  Let me share the passage with you.

I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all--oh, how well I remember--the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope.

God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.  How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).  He's all I've got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.
It;s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when your'e young to stick it out through the hard times.

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself.  Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer.  Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.
Don't run from trouble.  Take it full-face.  The "worst" is never the worst.

Why?  Because the Master won't ever walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. 

Who among us has never experienced utter lostness or who cannot remember the feeling of hitting the bottom?  Those feelings of loneliness, despair, grief, pain--whatever they are--cannot compare to the amazing fact of God's love and faithfulness.  Sitting quietly and patiently does not come easy for me.  I want to be "doing" something, searching for a solution, but we are told to enter the silence, bow in prayer and wait for hope to appear.  Such words never cease to reassure me! 

The Presbytery of Mississippi meets Thursday and on the agenda are the petitions of four churches to withdraw from the denomination.  We have a gaping wound in the church and not just in my denomination.
Somehow, somewhere along the way, we have lost our focus.  We are no longer a church united, but a church torn apart by deep divisions.  Still, God is faithful to those who call upon Him, just as God remained faithful to the Israelites in spite of their turning away.  Pray for the Church of Christ around the world.  Pray for me as I bring the message at Morning Worship. 

Pastor Margaret

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