How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?" - Psalm 13
I have thought about this Psalm numerous times over the past nearly two years now. I wonder how many of us have thought about where God is in this pandemic? When will it end?! At the time of this writing, the first case of the omicron variant has been announced in Dubuque County. It will be the first of many, I'm sure. How long, indeed.
I'm tired of wearing a mask. I'm tired of all the precautions and constantly having to think about what the pandemic will throw at us next. I'm exhausted by the unending need to make so many phone calls instead of seeing people in person and by the inability to walk into a hospital to pray with someone before surgery due to ever-changing restrictions. How long, indeed.
It's not just me. We are all tired in a variety of ways. I spoke with nurses at both of our local hospitals who expressed their exhaustion and frustrations over mis-information and the ways that people in our community refuse to do what needs to be done to stop the spread of the virus. How long, indeed.
Can you think of your own experience over the past many months? Are there ways in which you are ready to cry out to God? To wonder at why the pandemic continues or what will come next? How long, indeed.
An interesting thing happens in Psalm 13, the first verse of which I shared above and which is often cited by folks who wonder at where God might be or even if God might be. The middle verses of this Psalm become more of a prayer for understanding, and by the end of the Psalm we get this:
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Ah, yes. A return to what the people know to be true about God's love. Steadfast. Worthy of rejoicing (even in the midst of a pandemic). And then, God's grace for the psalmist, for us, because God has dealt bountifully with us. God's love has been evident throughout the pandemic the ways that we have cared for each other, in the minds and hands of scientists, doctors, nurses, and so many more. I've been witness to many ways that God presence has been evident in the world around us. As we move into the rhythm of our faith away from Christmas and toward Lent and the cross of Good Friday, we do well to remember that God knows our suffering and that God cares for us. We will soon see the evidence. May God bless you and keep you and watch over you as we enter a new year.
Blogging and believing. Some notes about a life of faith, answers to questions you ask, and musings about leadership in the church.