Has God forgotten you? Sometimes it feels that way, doesn’t it. Like after your third miscarriage, or that divorce from the former love of your life. After the doctor says the “C” word...again...after three years of remission. After the automobile accident that changed everything. After another unsuccessful infertility treatment. After another year without a close companion, friend, or significant other. After six more months of waiting for the adoption, and no end in sight. After your boss says, “Sales are down. Competition is fierce. We’re going to have to let some people go. I’m sorry.” After you’ve turned to God, and still, nothing has changed.
First, I’m sorry. I feel your pain, vicariously in some instances, but from personal experience in others. 2018 is upon us. For some, that brings excitement, anticipation, and opportunity. For others, well, more of the same. “How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” David’s opening words from Psalm 13.
There’s a whole book in the Bible written to express how it feels to be forgotten by God; it’s called Lamentations. The original name of the book in Hebrew, ekah, can be translated “Alas!” or “How?” I like that better. Because when you feel like God has taken a interminably long hike, the million dollar question is always, “How?” How can I go on? How will I heal? How can I make sense of any of it?” Lamenting is necessary for a season. It’s normal, and in many cases, essential. But eventually it surrenders to “How?” And that is as it should be.
I’m not writing these words to give you three points and a poem. It’s not my intent to give a theological pep talk. I hate theological pep talks. To put it bluntly, in the grand scheme of things, they suck.
In my own experience, I’ve found two things that help when I’m in the crucible of confusion: perseverance and prayer. The irony is that when you’re hurting, you don’t feel like either. Believe me, I get that. Here’s what I say to myself, “Every problem has a certain beginning, and a certain ending. There’s hope. I must hang on.” And then, when I can’t, or won’t pray, I ask someone to pray for me. If they love you (and God) they will. That’s it. Will that work for you? Honestly? I don’t know. If that seems like an odd thing to hear a pastor say, go back and read the preceding paragraph. All I can tell you is what I’ve learned. But I can also tell you this: God loves you, even when there’s no part of you that believes or feels that. I know that to be true...and sometimes, experience trumps knowledge.
So on a frosty, cold morning, looking out the window at grass covered with a skiff of snow, I thought I’d share some things on my mind. But there’s another reason I’m writing: I want to update my prayer list for anyone going through anything mentioned in the first paragraph of this message. I regularly pray for people living life in these categories. I’d be happy, and honored, to pray for you. Message me, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we’ll persist, and pray.
Maybe you didn’t expect to read this today. You know, perhaps it’s God’s way of saying, “I love you. I haven’t forgotten you.” Amen