April 3, 2020 lcimdet_p32lv7

How to Have Hope In the Midst of the COVID-19 Crisis

21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  

Lamentations 3:21-23 ESV

In times like these we are looking for answers. Death tolls seem to be climbing day by day. Each morning we awake to someone we know who is sick and others who have died. So what do we do? We look to the Word of God, the source of our hope. Believing God has answers for everything, we turn to the pages of the book of life, the Bible. I’m convinced the answers we need may rest in the book devoted to weeping. 

We see in the book of Genesis our beginnings and through the books of the law a moral code for living including worship. We flip through the historical books of Joshua all they way to Esther continuing the story of God with His people. We notice a book of songs and words of wisdom in the Psalms, Proverbs, and the book of Ecclesiastes. Are there answers we seek in those pages? Maybe it’s in the story of profound loss in the book of Job or hidden in the mystery of love in the Songs of Solomon. The symbolism, types and shadows of the prophetic books speak of future events. Now we enter a new covenant in the narrative of the four gospels revealing our Savior has come in the flesh, Jesus. The good news is preached and the kingdom of God is at hand. With a fresh Breath, we are blown into the birth of the church in the book of Acts as God inspires letters encouraging and edifying this young movement of persecuted yet committed disciples. And finally there is the revelation of Christ conquering Satan and a picture of a new heaven and earth. All these are written for our instructional training and example.

What can we learn? What should we learn? Where is an answer to all this craziness? Can we discover an answer in an unlikely place, a book of weeping? There is an answer in the poetry of a weeping prophet. There is an answer in the book of Lamentations. There is power in a our tears as they point us to the One who will one day wipe every tear away.

Jeremiah with his heart in anguish,  begins to pen with tears flowing down his eyes. As his tears mingle with the ink on the scroll,  his hand trembles as he writes in utter despair five poems of an almost lost hope. Why weep? Is it possible the death of a beloved friend and leader and the captivity of his very own people would cause any of us to lose heart.  Compounded with such loss is area nations mocking you and your people. You’ve become a laughingstock. And Jeremiah knows it is all because of their own sin.  They are broken. Jeremiah is broken.

The Hebrews called the book of lamentations “Ekhah.”  Ekhah translates simply as “how.” How did we get here? How can we handle this? How long will this last? How will my family be impacted? How can we ever get over this? How? How? How? How sounds a lot like our why. Why did this happen? Why did this happen to me? Why did this happen to us?  Why is everyone dying? Why didn’t they do something sooner? I picture us grabbing our heads asking in deep despair, “How did this happen?” Or “Why it happened?” I can’t pretend to know why or how.  But, I know in the midst of this pandemic God’s character hasn’t changed. And He will not change. He is who He has always been.  Like Jeremiah we must call God to mind.

We must remember He is good and we are deeply loved by Him.

Jeremiah in the midst of a national crisis had to meditate on the character and the nature of God.

He had to remind himself of the steadfast love of the Lord. He had to remember God’s love never ceases. In the middle of a pandemic some walk away from sick rooms and others are taking their final breaths. Leaders and experts with doctors and nurses are scrambling trying to figure it all out.  Their uncertainty breeds our uncertainty.  This uncertainty can lead to tormenting anxiety. Yet, as Christians live or die we can breathe with certainty His mercies are new every morning. 

In the darkness of today and the possible dark days ahead-His mercies are present and will be present. Great is His faithfulness.

God will not change. Even when we are faithless, God will not change. He cannot deny Himself.

We may feel the uneasiness of not knowing all of what tomorrow brings. Yet, we still have hope when we call on the undefeated Champion and the unwavering Lover of our souls. We must  meditate on His unchanging nature. How? While we are weeping, His blood fights for us and His Spirit comforts us.  We can trust His unfailing love and we can trust His faithfulness.

So weep. And we will weep with you. For in our weeping is the power of this promise. They who sow in tears shall reap in joy (Psalm 126). Again we know one day there will be no more dying and no more crying. But for right now, we grieve with hope and we cry with comfort trusting Jesus. He is our Hope and He is with us.

21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

Have you brought Him to mind today? How can you bring Him to mind?

Pastor Norflette

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