Last week was one of the hardest weeks of my life, I started the week fresh off of preaching a sermon in my home church, I was comfortable, I had a sense of direction, and I was secure in where I was going. Over the course of that week, my whole life changed, I was adrift in a sea of turmoil and woe, beset on all sides by troubles, threats, and misinformation. The week ended with me withdrawing from candidacy in the United Methodist church and finding myself without a plan and running on empty.
I was determined to make this a better week. Then life happened again. My father is dying, he is in palliative care and my family is now running on empty too. I have cried so much these past two weeks and I don’t think the tears will stop coming in the near future.
When Christ was dying on the cross, he shouted out to the heavens asking why God had forsaken him. Jesus was quoting King David in the psalms, who frequently wrote about feeling away from God, about feeling as though he had let God down. But God delivered on the promise that was made to him and God rose up from David a King who is far greater than any earthly King. David took refuge in the promise that was made to him and he knew God was always near even if it didn’t feel like it.
In this season of Lent and in this season of trials, I cling to Jesus, who came and suffered, who knows extent of my suffering, and who loves me. In a time when I feel as though I have no refuge, I have no safe place, my safe place is with God. My refuge is the God who doesn’t remain silent, I just have to have ears to hear. My refuge is in the God who lives and reigns forever and who will keep my dad company until I get a chance to see him again. These aren’t empty words, these are the promises that were written down by broken people like myself a thousand years ago, these are words that gave them strength to carry on, and these are words that bring hope to the world.
Oh God, you are my refuge and strength. Amen.