How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him”,
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
The news recently has been even more disturbing, distressing and sleep depriving. Rightly so.
The massacre at the Church in Charleston, South Carolina, USA was just fading from the news headlines, when the killing of 27 and the wounding of 227 in a Kuwaiti mosque during the first Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month Ramadan filled the airwaves.
Simultaneously the news of a beheading of a business man in France and the attempted destruction of a gas and chemical plant, followed by the massacre in Tunisia of 38 including 30 British tourists, others from Germany, Tunisia and Belgium with dozens more injured all erupted in an outpouring of violence.
Then we come to the almost obscenely “routine” news of over 1300 killed in a 10 day long heatwave in Sindh province and Karachi in Pakistan, which managed to avoid being reported on by most media outlets. Another ferry capsized in the Philippines killing at least 36 with more missing. More than 40 people killed in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram. News emerges too that some of the 300 school girls kidnapped by them last year in the same area, have been “radicalised” and are fighting for them.
Wildfires rage in California, Washington state and Alaska in the USA, leaving devastation and loss in its tracks. Celebrations for Independence Day must be very difficult for so many this year.
Greece, is facing financial meltdown and a very uncertain future which will cause ripple effects across Europe and the world.
The saga continues across our small blue planet, so that nowhere feels safe whether our homes, churches, mosques, temples, cars, schools or work places. So how can I pray to a loving God?
The Psalmist says it for us all, in Psalm 13. But there is a gap between verses 4 and 5. Almost like different stories of faith… All doom and gloom and despair, and then… “But I have trusted in your steadfast love…” It the mysterious space where each one of us dares to confront the darkness threatening to overwhelm us, and there we encounter the mysterious Godhead, there in the darkness before us, and providing a glimmer of light, a tentacle of hope by the divine presence reminding us of all God is, has been and continues to be… None other than unfailing yet conquering love, compassion, understanding and mercy. Our rock in the shifting turbulent storms of life. Like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, (Mark 5: 25 – 29), we find when we’ve reached the end of our tether, we’ll find the edge of His garment.
Then and only then do we spot the good news among the darkness, the sense of thanksgiving on the death of Nicholas Winton for his hidden life and work in 1939 to rescue from Nazi dominated Europe and find foster homes in Britain via the “Kinder Transport” of over 700, mainly Jewish children. A Saudi Arabian Prince, Alwaleed bin Talal, is planning to give away his $32 billion fortune to programs promoting health, eradicating disease, modernization, intercultural understanding and empowering women. And closer to most of our everyday lives, Nasir Sobhani, in Melbourne, Australia¸a barber who is a recovering addict, spends his one free day a week giving free hair cuts to homeless people and helping them make a “Clean Cut, Clean Start.” His credits his Baha’i faith for helping him keep clean and going straight and wanting to help others.
Help us Lord, to dare to meet you in the darkness that is so often life, and find in you light and hope not only for ourselves but each other and all whom we meet and all we do. Lord, hear our prayer.