Waves of grief have been washing over me these past few days… months… year? Never in my life have I felt such a roller coaster ride of emotion. As the regular routines of life take place, the overwhelming despair seeks to creep up and take over…

… and the waves continue.

Last night a good friend of ours text Dawn and I to ask how we were doing. We both responded, though not knowing each other’s responses, with the words, “exhausted.” What other word fits? We are not without hope. We are not without faith and trust in Jesus. We are not without love for God’s kingdom. But we are exhausted. Dawn further remarked, “Our lives are so sad right now.” After a year of watching so much negativity, we now share the sorrow and grief of watching our loved ones suffer. Dawn’s grandmother, though having lived a full life, is coming to the end of this life and beginning of eternity with God. My dad is battling cancer, with days that are good and days that are bad and we live with so many unknowns.

… but we seek after peace.

I marvel at how often the Daily Office Scripture readings, found in my Book of Common Prayer, seem to know just what is needed. The Psalms have consistently provided a perfect explanation of my own soul’s state while also reminding me that my hope is not in the things of this world, but in the eternal, good and beautiful God. How can the psalmist know my every thought and emotion? The Reformer Martin Luther stated that “in the Psalms we look into the heart of every saint.” John Calvin suggested that within the Psalms, “we look into a mirror and see our own heart.’ It’s as if each day’s reading has my name and address on it, knowing what my daily struggles or questions are, though not always providing the immediate “fix” that we humans long for, but an eternal solution wrapped up in the love of God…

… and yet suffering continues.

I’ve long been fascinated by the “now and not yet” of God’s kingdom. On one hand we see clearly that the kingdom of God broke into our world some two-thousand years ago when Jesus’ public ministry began. When he stated, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand,” he indicated that the rule and reign of God was upon us. And he demonstrated that kingdom’s power over and over again, wherever he went. Yet in the transitional age we find ourselves, sickness and death still have a hold and we still are found longing for the consummation of God’s kingdom, longing for an end to the terrors of the night and sorrows of the morning…

… and this too shall pass.

In today’s Scripture reading, I again stumbled upon the psalmist’s reminder that, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble, so we will not fear…” (Ps. 46:1, 2). I also read that “[God] protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked” (Ps. 97:10). And this is where the realm of faith begs we who believe to jump off of the cliff and into the unknown. We are not promised or guaranteed a life without trial, tribulation, or troubles. We are not allowed the assurance that our loved ones will not suffer. But we are given the hope, grounded in a history of God’s faithfulness, that the ultimate victory and redemption awaits us…

… and hope remains steadfast.

What awaits us today? We know not. But we do, I think, carry with us grieving hearts that have seeds of hope planted deep within. It is why we continue to wake up, make breakfast, and go about our day. It is why we continue to pray, read Scripture, and go about our day. It is why we still laugh and cry, spend time with loved ones, and go about our day. And it is why we long and suffer for the ultimate redemption, the ultimate hope, the ultimate love to be our reality…

… and we pray, “Maranatha… come, Lord.”

Last night we sensed the Lord’s grace and presence when another friend text us to let us know they were praying for us and wanted to give us a gift. Seemingly out of the blue, the Lord apparently knew just what we needed. So while we all long for the ultimate consummation of the age, when Jesus returns and sets up his kingdom and destroys the works of the devil, we must acknowledge that God’s been “coming” into our world for a very long time, and often it’s through his people as they minister to one another and the world around us. So while the vast majority of our prayer time is now in the form of petitions and requests…

… we also have gratitude for all God continues to do.

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