Today’s Readings: Lamentations, Psalm 137, 1 Peter 4
Over the weekend, we observed the horrific acts of the terrorist organization Hamas, with their attack on Israel. The “war” between the Muslims and the Jewish people is a battle since the beginning of time. This is a religious war that knows no boundaries and likely will never be settled while man is still in control of earth.
Ironically, one of our readings for today describes the historical account of the fall of Jerusalem. The Jewish people have endured grave suffering throughout the history of time. One our readings today, Lamentations, is an emotional scripture written by Jeremiah that described the “funeral of a city,” when Jerusalem was overtaken by the Babylonians.
Even in the deepest days of despair, Jeremiah exclaimed in Lamentations 3:21-26; 21 “Therefore I have hope. 22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore I hope in Him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
As we look to live peaceful, happy, and fulfilled lives, we are reminded each day that our desire is only possible to a certain extent. 1 Peter 4:12 says “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.”
How about that? Scripture tells us we will not be spared from tough times. The prophet Peter tells us to expect trials and challenges and not be surprised. We should expect it.
In fact, Peter tells us in verse 13, “but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
Peter is telling us to stand by our belief in Christ. The challenges and sin of the world will test our faith, question our resolve to follow Christ, and ultimately pressure us to turn away from our Savior. Pain and suffering can break us. Despair and sadness can deject us to the point where we “lose our way.” Our worldly minds cause us to question the need or the reason for the suffering and sadness and “lay our sorrows at the feet of Christ” and question why He is allowing us to suffer, and ultimately questions whether our God exists.
We can live our lives in fear every day, that tragedy or calamities await us. War, pandemics, violent crime, health issues, death…and the list goes on. We can spin ourselves into a life of despair and doubt, constantly worrying about the next bad thing that may happen in our life.
My profound belief that if we are right with God, we will not be afraid. Our resolve and tenacity to persevere through the worst of times solely depends on our ability to focus on the faith we have in Jesus, that He has a plan, and all our suffering and trails will be revealed when we get to Heaven. Fear not, God has got you!