Several weeks ago, yet another woman, who had
recently lost her husband through some rather tragic circumstances, came
to see me. Over the years, I have come to recognize the look quite
readily. As soon as she walked through the door of the parsonage, I knew
she was devastated and lost; I knew she was suffering a pain so deep, so
agonizing; a pain of the heart that very few of us experience; and I
knew she had given up.
Everything was going for them; and, then,
it happened. The question which burned in this woman’s soul was, quite
understandably: why had God taken her husband away from her, through
such a senseless act of violence?
When she left, I could still
feel her husband wandering through the parsonage with me. I could feel
his fear and his concern. I could feel his anguish over his wife’s grief
and sorrow. Even while I was offering communication to others that day,
I saw him standing at the periphery of the light, weeping.
week ago, we received an e-mail from a woman who had lost her son.
Listen to what she said:
“Please help me continue to heal from
the loss of my beloved son Michael. My heart is broken, and my spirit is
shattered. I don’t know how to help my family recover from this tragedy.
We have been set adrift in a sea of darkness and despair. Help us find
our way home again.”
Did you hear this woman’s plea: “We have
been set adrift in a sea of darkness and despair. Help us find our way
What do we do when it seems as if our faith is
failing us? What do we do when we have done everything humanly possible
to resolve a conflict or a trying situation in our lives? What do we do
when all human avenues of resolves are exhausted? We go beyond that
which is human including our own human failings and we turn to God. It
is during these times that we must place our egos and our pride aside
and say: God, I need help! God, I simply cannot do this alone. God, I
need YOU! Help me in my poor faith and restore me where I may be
I would encourage you to look at the Book of
Lamentations. This remarkable book from the Old Testament relates
Jeremiah’s time of trial and tribulation. Consider the scene. It is
roughly 586 B.C. The city of Jerusalem has been left in ruins by the
Babylonians. The Temple has been destroyed. The people have been ravaged
by war and pestilence. Jeremiah, having lived through this personal and
national catastrophe, utters words of immense lamentation. Judah has
been described as a weeping widow not unlike the woman who came to me
disheveled and seating upon the ground in mourning. Everything was gone.
It can’t get much worse than this. With every detail of the destruction
still fresh within his mind and heart, Jeremiah writes the following
"He has filled me with bitterness. He has
made me drunk with wormwood. And He has broken my teeth with gravel. He
has made me cower in the dust. And my soul has been rejected from peace.
I have forgotten happiness. So I say, “My strength has perished, and so
has my hope in the Lord.”
Does this sound at all familiar?
Perhaps, we have never expressed it in quite this style of language, but
I am sure each one of us has come to a point in our lives when we cry
out: My strength has perished, and so has my hope in the Lord. But wait.
Look at what follows (LAMENTATIONS 3:19):
"Remember my affliction
and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my spirit
remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind;
therefore, I have hope. The Lord’s loving kindness indeed never ceases,
For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Thy
faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I have
hope in Him.' "
What a testimony of transformation! What a
testimony of two kingdoms the kingdom of flesh and the kingdom of Spirit
within the individual, seeking to become one. Here was a man of immense
faith who became so utterly crushed by circumstances of the flesh that
even his faith in God began to diminish. My strength has perished, and
so has my hope for the Lord.
That’s where it could have ended for
Jeremiah. And that’s where it could end for us, when we confront
challenging times. But, Jeremiah did something so profound, that even
the subtle language of the Scripture shares its revelation with a
resounding voice of hopeful truth.
What did Jeremiah do? What can
we each do, when life seems to deal us just one too many bad hands?
Jeremiah looked within, and he let his spirit speak. He looked within,
and he allowed his spirit to address the tragedy of the flesh. Jeremiah
said: My strength has perished, and so has my hope. But his spirit
witnessed another call; another reality.
And that’s what we have
to do: we have to search deeply within our souls. We have to look deeply
into the tabernacle of the most high. Surely my spirit remembers and is
bowed down within me. We must go within and remember our spiritual
roots. Why? Because we forget. We must go within and remember those
times when we knew that God was with us. Why? Because we forget. We must
go within and remember when, like Christ, we and the Father were one.
Why? Because we forget.
We must go within and touch the light of
the spirit and remember the greater Light of God. Why? Because, like the
woman above, many of us feel we “have been set adrift in a sea of
darkness and despair”; and our plea is: “Help me find my way home
The person of Jeremiah lamented: My strength has perished
and so has my hope. But when he reached into the depths of his spirit,
where the Holy Spirit of God resides, Jeremiah proclaimed: The Lord is
my portion. Therefore, I have hope in Him.
The person of this
woman cried out: “We have been set adrift in a sea of darkness and
despair.” But, her spirit knew there was another place to be; another
state of being. She wanted help to find her way HOME!
So, what do
we do when the faith seems to fail us? We remember exactly wherein lie
our spiritual roots. We remember that, as spirit, we are born of God. We
remember that, as spirit, God is our portion. And we remember not to
forget that, when the human part of us seems to fail, there is recourse.
There is the spirit within upon which we can rely. There is the spirit
within, created truly in the light and image of God, our beloved Father.
And there is one, to whom we can turn, as an example of God’s Light and
Love on earth, for guidance, strength, and direction to the Divine Light
of God; and that one is Jesus Christ.
Jesus can be as the light
house which guides our wandering vessels, through the raging waters of
life, into the safety of God’s harbor. And what better time than now, as
we commence upon yet another new year, to remind ourselves of the Light
which he came to bear witness, in Heaven and on Earth.
Season 2017 has gone by, and a New Year is upon us. All the lights and
decorations are being put away for yet another year. And we must ask
ourselves a very important question: Are we putting away the Lights of
Chanukah and Christmas along with the lights that recently festooned our
Have we learned; have we shared; have we, too, been born;
have we received the Light to which Christ bears witness; have we truly
appreciated the significance of the Chanukah Miracle? There was no room
for the Christ child in the inn! Shall we make room for him in our
hearts; in our spirits; and in our lives? Shall we make room for him
within our respective churches? Or shall he respective churches, or
shall he be yet another decoration to place upon the Christmas tree of
our life? Do we believe that the faith and courage of Jeremiah and the
Maccabees live within us all, then and now?
It matters not what
your faith or religious/spiritual persuasion may be; the Great Christ
Spirit/Consciousness speaks to all people! Why cannot we see this?
Regardless of what you may consider your Holy Writ, they all speak of
Love, Light, Faith, Forgiveness, and, most importantly, of the Divine
Spirit within all men and women; within all animals; within all plants;
within the very ground upon which we walk. As is noted elsewhere on this
website (www.fst.org/interfaith.htm), God does not reside exclusively in
any Church, Temple, Synagogue, Mosque, or House of Worship. He resides
within the hearts and spirits of every living creature.
my soul remembers and is bowed down within me!” That’s what we must do
when our faith seems to fail us. We must remember. And the best way of
remembering is not to forget to begin with. Thus, we have yet another
reason for taking time, daily, in our busy lives, to acknowledge the
Light of God through the lights of our prayers and our meditations.
Thus, we have yet another reason to welcome in the Day of the Lord with
the flames of prayer and praise. Thus, we have yet another reason for
gathering together in community worship and prayer. We must never forget
from whence we have all come.
“The Lord is my portion.
Therefore, I have hope in Him!” What an Epiphany!
Thank you and
Happy New Year.