One Word,  unexpected blessings

How His Love Endures: April 2021

The beginning of April brought so much hope, beginning with an Easter celebration. Just a few days later I got notification that I would be able to schedule my first vaccine appointment. I didn’t realize the anxiety had been building until the sight card/sticker selfies caused jealousy to rise up within me. We have made major progress in this country in this month in providing access to vaccinations. I am in awe of the advancement in science to have 3 different vaccines on hand less than a year after such a deadly virus began ravaging the globe.

A verdict came in a case that shook the country less than year ago. The issue wasn’t new, but the march toward justice finally received some progress forward. I have been unable to put into words all the feelings that come with the grief and compassion for so many hurting souls. And within a few hours of that verdict, two more souls joined God in heaven as they experienced the same traumatic end to their lives on earth.

And then there was several days of major massing shootings in a row and we could barely breathe before we were hit with another one. We have already endured hundreds of thousands of COVID related deaths without true lament, so gun violence on top of that became too much.

One of the ways I processed the grief of events in April.

I discovered Common Hymnal and a music community in what is only possible in God’s time. It has become the missing piece of the lament I have been experiencing for well over a year.

This particular song, Rose Petals, I heard just this week, and the lyrics are haunting and convicting at the same time. In the midst of a civil rights movement, a nation is divided instead of finding common purpose in the midst of tragic death. The lyrics of this song remind me that each unique individual of the human race matters and is a dearly loved child of God.

These verses from Psalm 90 remind us that we aren’t promised a carefree life. The challenges we are facing right now are part of the deal as broken people in this world.

Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:10-12 (NIV)

Even in the best of our years, we will experience pain and sorrow, Most often the pain is what draws me closer to Him who knows me best.

13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
    Have compassion on your servants.

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
    for as many years as we have seen trouble.

16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
    your splendor to their children.

Psalm 90:13-16 (NIV)

I can so relate to verse 13, “Relent, Lord! How long will it be?” When will relief come? When will the shootings stop? When will the brutality cease? When will we be free of disease? Surely not this side of heaven. Yet we expect happiness because we think we deserve it. The author of the psalm, David, calls out for joy, even in the midst of affliction. He has hope in the Lord.

17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:10-17 (NIV)

The psalm ends with hope for each of us. His rest is what brings favor to us, not anything that we do, and in fact in spite of what we do.

As I reflect back on this month and remember the Easter celebration, this song echoes the hope in my heart.

But it’s the cross that made the change
It’s the cross that made the change
And I’ll let everybody know
That it’s the cross that made the change

Now when we see Jesus we become like Jesus
When we know how he sees us, we will never be the same

God continues to be faithful to me in this season. He continues to show me ways to endure each day, week and month. I will need it in May, as I reflect back one more time to clean out boxes from my office that have been sitting for 11 months. I am determined to face a difficult anniversary with hope to move forward. That change is only possible because of Jesus.

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