In my distress I cried out to the LORD; I called to my God for help. God heard my voice from his temple; I called to him for help, and my call reached his ears. ~Psalm 18:6 (CEB)
Have you ever read Lamentations? What about Job for that matter! There is nothing enjoyable or pretty about these books in the Bible. I don’t normally peruse these scriptures unless I am being forced to for a particular reason. But sometimes there are jewels hidden in the things we don’t want to deal with. In the midst of the Israelite’s deep sorrow, among the verses telling of their ultimate destruction there are sparks of hope:
My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “Gone is my glory, and all that I had hoped for from the LORD.” The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for one to bear the yoke in youth, to sit alone in silence when the Lord has imposed it, to put one’s mouth to the dust (there may yet be hope), to give one’s cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults. For the Lord will not reject forever. Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone. When all the prisoners of the land are crushed under foot, when human rights are perverted in the presence of the Most High, when one’s case is subverted —does the Lord not see it? ~Lamentations 3:17-36 (RSV)
So among the ashes of someone else’s story, I too can be reminded that there is hope for me. One nice thing about scriptures like these is when I do not have the words to express myself, sometimes I find them already spoken. I don’t have to search for them inside of me; I just have to claim the ones I have read.
I called on your name, O lord, from the depths of the pit; you heard my plea, “Do not close your ear to my cry for help, but give me relief!” You came near when I called on you; you said, “Do not fear!” You have taken up my cause O Lord, you have redeemed my life. (Lam 3:55-58) Amen.