“Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief,
my soul and body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,[a]
and my bones waste away…
But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.”
As we enter another Holy Week this Palm Sunday, I have become keenly interested this year in the idea that there is a week built into our Christian faith and calendar that reminds us of how hard human life can get. Even for the one human person we also consider to be God.
Throughout this Lenten season, we have been talking about the places in our lives that perhaps we don’t like to look at all that much. The places where we have failed, or feel shame. The places of heartbreak and anger. The words we regret and the actions we wish we could take back. Apologies we need to make, or ways that our own dissatisfaction may cause us to act hurtfully toward others… even ourselves. Betrayal we’ve uncovered, or grief we are muddling through.
Whatever those places look like in your life, they can be discouraging. And perhaps when we started this journey of looking within, you thought that you would be given some 3-step plan for how to get out of that place. And yet – you are still here, wrestling with the same old things.
But here’s the thing – so much of the hardness and heartache of life is just not something we can solve or bypass or race through quickly. It has its own place on this human journey. Like Holy Week, it is built into the human experience, for better and for worse. But it will teach us and shape us, as we make our way through it.
And the Psalmist reminds us that if we orient ourselves toward a loving, gracious, and forgiving God in the midst of these places – we are promised that God will not let us go.
God will hear us when we cry out in anguish.
God will continue to mold us into God’s own people.
God will bring about healing, restoration, and new life into your dry and brokenness.
This is the promise of Easter, and it is coming.
Friends – I pray that you will have a blessed and Spirit-filled Holy Week, and that somewhere in the midst of it all, you might feel the gracious presence of God leading you forward to new life.