April 14, 2021

God Remembers Us

The Lord had made them joyful.
Ezra 6:22
Having to wait too long is what we might call a first world problem. It's something Americans love to complain about. When we have to wait too long in traffic, in a line at the grocery store, for our number to be called at the DMV, on hold with customer service, we consider it the height of torture. And when we share our experiences of waiting, we might get sympathy from our listeners. But more likely, our account will elicit stories about how long other people had to wait under the same or different circumstances. 

One of the worst aspects of waiting is the feeling that we're not important, or even that we've been forgotten. You're in a doctor's waiting room, and it seems to be taking forever for our name to be called... indeed, didn't that person who just went into the inner sanctum sign in after you did? Or you're on hold for so long that you begin to wonder if they've forgotten you were on the phone.

Now take these feelings and multiply them by a thousand, and you might begin to understand the life of a refugee or a person in exile. After the citizens of Jerusalem were forced to abandon their lives and move to Babylon, it was seventy years before they were allowed to see their homes again. How it must have seemed that God had forgotten them! This is the kind of despair I think many began to feel during the isolation and lockdowns of the covid pandemic—especially for those who lived alone. At times there seemed to be no end in sight. To wait, forgotten and alone, was more than some could bear.

And yet the scriptures promise us that to wait for God is a strengthening experience. To use times of waiting in contemplation, prayer, and even study will help demonstrate to us that we are not forgotten, that God has promised us something more, that—through faith—our lives have purpose. Israel found out long ago what Christians can also experience when we wait for God: that we are not forgotten; that even if the world looks down on us or ignores us, we belong to God, and our identities are kept safe in God's eternal heart.

Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
 Luke 10:20
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Lord Jesus, think on me 
amid the battle’s strife; 
in all my pain and misery 
be thou my health and life.

Lord Jesus, think on me 
that, when the warfare's past, 
I may eternal brightness see 
and share thy joy at last.
 5th century hymn attributed to Sy­ne­si­us of Cyrene
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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