“God often feels distant” is a recent topic of discussion with people lately. These conversations are hard, yet as we pray, we are left with the sense of God’s presence and a lift within our spiritual wellness. It’s all too easy to let those famous passages of scripture roll off our tongues, “where two or three are gathered…” Matt. 18:20 or some of the Psalms that tell of God’s presence in our times of need. These are the absolute truths of God, He is with us even though we may not realise it. Yet times are hard for many right now.
We have spoken of this in our recent sermon series. We saw how God speaks to us in various ways and through various means. Some of you have taken comfort in the knowledge of God being with you through difficult times, when reading scripture or listening to a favourite song. I’ve had 3 separate conversations with people recently where each person told me that they had been feeling low, yet had a lift in their spirit when they sang the hymn ‘Great is thy faithfulness’. They immediately felt secure and at peace when they remembered and sang the lyrics.
The hymn was written by Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) who had a difficult early adult life. His health was so fragile that there were periods of time when he was confined to bed, unable to work. After coming to Christ at age 27, Thomas found great comfort in the Scriptures, and in the fact that God was faithful and his strength in time of illness and weakness, and provided for his needs. Lamentations 3:22-23 was one of his favourite scriptures: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”
You’ll agree that life is difficult at the moment. Many people are unable to spend time with family, others continue to mourn the loss of loved ones that have died recently. There is no doubt that life has changed. We may need to take time to reflect on those changes, take stock of where we are in life and seek what the future may hold for us. Harvest and Remembrance Sunday may be such times where people take time to stop and reflect on life. Who knows how we’ll mark these occasions this year if restrictions continue to remain in place! Yet when we consider why Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations, we begin to see that God suffers when His people suffer and that there is hope in the midst of affliction and conflict.
We will all face tragedy in our life. But in the midst of our afflictions, there is hope in God. Without Him there is no comfort or hope for the future. Because of Christ’s death for us and his promise to return, we have strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto us! Amen.
|David Skeet is our church team leader.
Taken from the latest edition of our bi-monthly church newsletter.