In the midst of any situation in which we don’t know how to resolve or escape or succeed, we begin to think, “Why me?” Why would this happen to me? Why do you forget me God? Or why do you allow this tragedy to impact me this way? And how will I respond?
1 Remember, Lord, what has happened to us;
look, and see our disgrace.
2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
our homes to foreigners.
3 We have become fatherless,
our mothers are widows.
4 We must buy the water we drink;
our wood can be had only at a price.
5 Those who pursue us are at our heels;
we are weary and find no rest.
19 You, Lord, reign forever;
your throne endures from generation to generation.
20 Why do you always forget us?
Why do you forsake us so long?
21 Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return;
renew our days as of old
22 unless you have utterly rejected us
and are angry with us beyond measure.
Lamentations 5:1-5, 19-22
Why am I frustrated and after investing so long I cannot get ahead or out of my hole?
Israel’s situation was perhaps as bad as any we can contemplate. Exiled and enslaved; overthrown and abused. Israel lost everything as so many in our modern world have lost through war and affliction resulting in a global refugee crisis.
You, Lord, reign forever.
In other words, our lament is underscored with our knowledge of your power and capability to free us and vindicate us and rescue us and restore us.
I think there are two responses to the truth of God’s power and presence, even in our loss and exile. Many people reject God because they believe that if he is there and has left them, he isn’t worth trusting.
Others recognize his presence and power as a beacon of hope – God will restore me in his good time; he knows best for me and he will accomplish his will in my life. Which are you?
The first response comes from a focus solely on self and circumstance. The second recognizes that I might live within the plan of another. I am part of something bigger than myself, and my experience is part of that plan and perhaps part of my development or equipping for the future.
How will you respond? We have seen over and over in the last week of readings that God is present and accounted for in our midst.
His action or inaction in relation to our timing is not a sign of his love or his power or his presence.
What is the big picture of our suffering and situations, God?