I woke up this morning; the sun is shining, and the sky is clear and blue. This is in such stark contrast to the news I received last night of the passing of loved ones along with listening to and praying for those who are grappling with grief, anxiety, stress, and fears. It is this beautiful morning that yet reminds me of the faithfulness of God, and the fact that eventually beauty will arise from the pall of the nighttime with which the current pandemic has seemingly blanketed the world. It was Jeremiah who reminded himself in bitter times of the faithfulness of God. I can hear his painstaking lament in my ear as he gives voice to his grief declaring: “I thought: My future is gone, as well as my hope from the LORD. The memory of my suffering and homelessness is bitterness and poison. I can’t help but remember and am depressed. I call all this to mind— therefore, I will wait. Certainly, the faithful love of the LORD hasn’t ended; certainly, God’s compassion isn’t through!” (Lam. 3:18–22 CEB)
It was my plan when I wrote today’s muse to continue speaking from the perch of Mark 9—which we will return to later this week, perhaps tomorrow. However, the events of last night sent me scurrying for direction from God. The righteous too are being impacted by this scourge on our world. This conundrum of the righteous suffering always has been and yet is a difficult circumstance that always challenges the faith of the faithful. How do we come to terms with this deadly virus impacting those who have given their lives to God, have prayed and fasted, and attempted to carry out all that they’ve been taught to do? How do they deal with frustration and anger? What if they’re angry with God? Jeremiah came to mind along with the words he wrote in the 3rd chapter of Lamentations. Emotionally and intellectually, he was all of the above. He was in perhaps one of his own these kind cometh not out moments as was highlighted in Mark 9 on yesterday. It is in his meandering prayer of lament in Lamentations 3, upon being honest and transparent with God; it is after he foments angst, anger, and sorrow; it is upon his angrily airing his grievances and blaming God for every untoward thing taking place in his life at the moment; that he returns to a necessary and true conclusion. It is a conclusion that is based on an inherent faith in the goodness of God’s character that is aptly typified in John’s statement that “…God is love.” (1 John 4:8 AV) It is because of this fact that we can safely conclude that every night of difficulty will give way to the sunrise of God’s faithfulness.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.