I haven’t written a full blog in approximately… forever.
Part of the reason for this is because we have hit the phase in which parenting has become a little more hands on than usual (guess who is beginning to crawl???)
But also because, honestly, I’ve been feeling a little discouraged. Besides the birth of my son this year, which was amazing since babies are basically amazing, everything else this year seems to be… well… disappointing, to put it mildly. Everything is (still) shut down over here, beyond essential services, and I feel like a broken record to my children:
“No, you can’t do ___ because it’s shut down.”
“No, you can’t do ___ because it’s been cancelled.”
“No, I don’t know when/if school will be opened up.”
And when the inevitable question arises (“Why, Mommy?”) the answer is always the same.
I asked my four-year-old son what he wanted for his birthday, and he asked if we could end the coronavirus for his birthday. That was in May. It’s August now. He is tired. I am tired. Everyone is tired.
“How long, Lord?”
These words, uttered in so many psalms before, keep coming back to me. The words, as a cry to the Lord, are succinct and perfect as they are, but of course the psalm adds so much richness to it that I can’t help but share:
2How long, LORD? Will you utterly forget me?How long will you hide your face from me?3How long must I carry sorrow in my soul,grief in my heart day after day?How long will my enemy triumph over me?
And of course, this makes me think of this artwork…
It is a picture of Jesus in the wilderness, just before he is tempted. It is stark and desolate and empty. It is when He fasted and prayed during His forty days in the wilderness. Behind Him, the sky is aglow in what looks to be a flaming sunrise, which only seems to heighten the feeling of emptiness. After all, the sunrise comes and seems to scorch the earth, which already seems completely barren.
And aren’t we in a strange wilderness right now? Doesn’t it feel like we are alone? This is an incredibly isolating period for most of us! Don’t we all feel as if we are carrying a sorrow in our soul?
Surely, Jesus must have felt the same when He was in the wilderness. Otherwise, why would Satan be so bold as to tempt Him, let alone approach Him?
How long, Lord?
The psalm doesn’t end in a sad note, though. The psalm ends triumphantly! David ends the psalm, saying:
6But I trust in your mercy.Grant my heart joy in your salvation,I will sing to the LORD,for he has dealt bountifully with me!
And it seems to me that the antidote to this whole present suffering is we need to trust in the Lord. Which is easier said than done! It seems hard to trust in anything right now when things seem so horribly uncertain and when suffering seems to surround us in a myriad of different ways.
And yet, Christ has never promised a life without suffering. Christ has never promised us a life without pain or difficulty. On the contrary! The gospel is full of Christ gently informing us that there is pain to come in our lives. The only thing Christ has asked of us is for us to carry our crosses and to follow Him. And what has He promised us?
And so, “Grant my heart joy in your salvation” has become my prayer as of late.
And, even though life pretty much is difficult for everyone, may we nevertheless cling to the Lord and sing to Him in this strange and difficult times.