“I think, ‘My bed will comfort me,
and sleep will ease my misery,’” – Job 7:13 (NLT)
What losses have we suffered?
Some lost their homes. Their means of livelihood. Some lost their friends, family, relatives and acquaintances. Some lost their retirement. Most of us lost our peace.
I think of the face I will never see again. The hand I will never hold, the hug I will never give and receive.
I look with bitterness against those who amassed their wealth in greater quantities than before throughout this pandemic.
I think of the doubtful job prospects, the shuttered small businesses in my community. We notice that a bank is planning to take over one of the buildings.
We do not need more banks or conglomerates, we need more small businesses!
We do not want ravenous corporations who love to devour us like wolves among sheep!
We hunger for mom-and-pop stores, locals in the community who build a vital, thriving atmosphere, passing time with intimate storytelling and rich histories.
We long for personal connections and a growing group of people who come together in the cold, rain, heat, warmth and share their stories.
We do not want aloof, large dead spaces with cold eye for money feeding into the already wealthy privileged few. And neither do we need them.
We hate the long lines to shop for necessities in corporate owned stores, the unending demand for more money to support the insatiable gluttony of those who see no dignity, worth, or humanity in others except themselves.
When I see all this, I cannot bring myself to pray.
In the rare occasion when I find strength, prayer brings no comfort.
I go to sleep and wake with the same heaviness.
Still I remember His goodness, I will never abandon the Holy One who has done me no wrong.
I look for comfort in His Word, and I find some personal connection with Asaph’s anguish.
Psalm 77 :: New Living Translation (NLT)
For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of Asaph.
1 I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
Oh, that God would listen to me!
2 When I was in deep trouble,
I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
but my soul was not comforted.
3 I think of God, and I moan,
overwhelmed with longing for his help.
4 You don’t let me sleep.
I am too distressed even to pray!
5 I think of the good old days,
long since ended,
6 when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
7 Has the Lord rejected me forever?
Will he never again be kind to me?
8 Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he slammed the door on his compassion?
10 And I said, “This is my fate;
the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
11 But then I recall all you have done, O LORD;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
13 O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
its waters looked and trembled!
The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
the thunder rumbled in the sky.
Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
the lightning lit up the world!
The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
your pathway through the mighty waters—
a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.
Bring me joy again. Help us, God. And give us our daily bread. Change the system – healthcare, employment benefits, paid parent leave, education, EVERYTHING.
God, bring this nation back to you. Save us. We are powerless against the corrupt. They have the courts, the police, the military, the wealth. Help us. I will remember Your past deeds and take comfort that You, God, reign!
““Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh?
Can marsh grass flourish without water?
While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut,
they begin to wither more quickly than grass.
The same happens to all who forget God.
The hopes of the godless evaporate.
Their confidence hangs by a thread.
They are leaning on a spider’s web.
They cling to their home for security, but it won’t last.
They try to hold it tight, but it will not endure.
The godless seem like a lush plant growing in the sunshine,
its branches spreading across the garden.
Its roots grow down through a pile of stones;
it takes hold on a bed of rocks.
But when it is uprooted,
it’s as though it never existed!
That’s the end of its life,
and others spring up from the earth to replace it.
“But look, God will not reject a person of integrity,
nor will he lend a hand to the wicked.
He will once again fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy.
Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
and the home of the wicked will be destroyed.”” – Job 8:11-22 (NLT)
Our God, You reign! You are sovereign. I will remember and tell of your deeds (Psalm 75:1; Psalm 145:12).