As I think about the events of the last week – the death of George Floyd, the political unrest, the pandemic that continues to ravage lives – my heart has felt heavy. I have wrestled with thoughts like, “What type of world are my grandkids growing up in?” With questions pummeling my mind, I turned to Psalm 136.
It’s similar in style to the early African American songs which use the “call-and-response” style of worship. In this style, the worship leader would call out and the congregation would respond. As I read it in the privacy of my own home, my heart’s cry was, “Lord, open my eyes to your lovingkindness!”
The Psalmist begins, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.” To this, the Congregation would have responded, “His love endures forever!” (Psalm 136:1). Throughout the Psalm the pattern continues. The Psalmist recounts the Lord’s goodness and the congregation responded with, “His love endures forever!” The New American Standard Version translates the word “love” as lovingkindness and carries the ideas of compassion, mercy, and steadfast love. Ah, I love that, don’t you? I don’t know about you, but I need a continual abundance of God’s compassion, mercy, and never-ending love in my life. I often pray early in the morning, Holy Spirit open my eyes to the abundance that is found in your lovingkindness. Take me deeper, reveal more of yourself to me, and unveil my eyes to see you face-to-face. Is that a selfish prayer? No. I believe the Lord wants us to know more of the abundance of His love. He longs for us to know the vast measure of His lovingkindness all day, every day. His love surrounds us, guides us, keeps us, and carries us.
As you’ve looked at the news this week, wrestled with social distancing, and perhaps, like many, lost your job, you may think, “Where is God’s love in this mess?” I understand. As I’ve wrestled with that question, the Lord reminded me that:
He Weeps over Injustice. I believe God Himself weeps with the family of George Floyd. He is the one who stood at the tomb of Lazarus, knowing that in just a few moments He would raise Lazarus from the dead, with tears streaming down His almighty face (John 11:35). Where is Jesus when the pandemic takes your loved one or when your income disappears? I believe He is weeping. He crawls into our suffering and sorrow, and there gives us the greatest gift of empathy the world has ever known. He truly is the only One who can say, “I understand,” because He too was treated unfairly.
Lord, open my eyes and ears to realize you weep with me through injustice. Help me to know your heart more fully.
He Comes Alongside to Bring Comfort. The Apostle Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit “always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering” (2 Corinthians 1:4, The Passion Translation). The Holy Spirit is called “the comforter” (John 14:26). Jesus knew when He left that the world would often feel dark and unfair. He knew we would need a 24/7 journey mate to help hold our hearts steady. So, He left His Spirit to be with us and in us! When you need comfort that goes beyond human understanding, turn to the Holy Spirit. He not only groans with you, but He also groans for you in prayer before the Father (Romans 8:26-27).
Lord, open my eyes and ears to your lovingkindness. Help me to remember that, as I weep, you are praying for me fervently with wordless groans.
He Remembers His Promises and Remains Faithful. Because of the Lord’s great lovingkindness, we are not forgotten nor abandoned. His mercies continue to be new every morning (Lamentations 2:23-24). One of my favorite verses that I return to when my heart wrestles with fear is, “The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it” (I Thessalonians 5:24). I need that reminder a lot – what about you?
Friend, even in these wonky days He weeps with us. He comes alongside to bring us comfort. He remembers His promises and remains faithful.
Lord, open my eyes and ears to the abundance of your lovingkindness. Help me to remember that you are faithful!
Two big announcements!
Don’t forget to register for the “What’s Next?” webinar!
Psalms for the Anxious Heart will be released on July 7. Friend, I am beyond excited about this book! You can preorder your copy at Moody.com or on Amazon!