How Long God, How Long?

A visit to Minnesota’s Coon Rapids Dam found friend Racoon.

Jeremiah was grieving the destruction of Jerusalem. For Jeremiah . . . the question was “How long will we endure?”  We hear his lament over the destroyed city, “My soul is bereft of peace. I have forgotten what happiness is . . . gone is my glory and all I had hoped for from the Lord. The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall. My soul continually thinks of it . . . and is bowed down within me.” Lamentations 3:17-20

Living through today’s Covid19 pandemic I find my anchors in life shifting. Today I feel out of touch with my community. Something life-giving is missing. We haven’t reached the point of sheltering in place yet, but most everything is closed. And what is open, I’m told I should avoid because of my age. I am not living Jeremiah’s devastating losses after Jerusalem was destroyed or have I witnessed the loss of life he did. Nor have I yet experienced the losses we’re seeing in Italy or New York, or the painful stories that go with them. And yet, I’m wondering “How long?”

How long before life returns to some semblance of normal. How long before we can gather in community? I came across this quote by psychologist Louis Cozolino recently, ‘We’re not survivors of the fittest, we’re survivors of the nurtured.” The real question isn’t how long, but how can I be an instrument of God’s love in the midst of today? How can I reach out to people who need my help, my compassion, my care? How can I be a nurturer? How can I help create community, even from the distance?

What I am finding is that the more I reach out to others, the more I find solace for myself. The more I give, the more I find myself blessed. In the midst of all of this I’m reminded that God’s gift of peace in turmoil is a sustaining force. The apostle Paul wrote these words of comfort for a time like this.

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7