Dragged down by heavy netting
Jeremiah 20: 7-13 (NRSVA)
7 O Lord, you have enticed me,
and I was enticed;
you have overpowered me,
and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughing-stock all day long;
everyone mocks me.
8 For whenever I speak, I must cry out,
I must shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’
For the word of the Lord has become for me
a reproach and derision all day long.
9 If I say, ‘I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name’,
then within me there is something like a burning fire
shut up in my bones;
I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
10 For I hear many whispering:
‘Terror is all around!
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’
All my close friends
are watching for me to stumble.
‘Perhaps he can be enticed,
and we can prevail against him,
and take our revenge on him.’
11 But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior;
therefore my persecutors will stumble,
and they will not prevail.
They will be greatly shamed,
for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonour
will never be forgotten.
12 O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous,
you see the heart and the mind;
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
13 Sing to the Lord;
praise the Lord!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
from the hands of evildoers.
Not all stories have happy endings — especially, Bible stories.
Spare a thought for those desperate parents knocking on Noah’s ark to save their drowning children. And the multiple generations of exploited Hebrews who laboured tirelessly under Egyptian oppression. How did these bullies later cope with the death of their firstborn sons?
Did they receive counselling?
Were there enough graves for every baby, boy or bachelor to have a burial worthy of their belonging?
The past few weeks have been particularly difficult for mourners. How are they supposed to get closure? Be consoled without physical touch; a hug or even a handshake? And what about the numerous family members and friends who would have wanted to pay their respects at the funeral?
Maybe you have lost someone. A relative or friend. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I cannot begin to comprehend what you must be going through.
It’s especially during these times of suffering that we contemplate life’s injustices.
There’s a paragraph in M. Scott Peck’s book, ‘The road less travelled’, that helps me when I’m left upset by suffering:
“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult — once we truly understand and accept it — then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
Life in itself is difficult. Accepting this fact isn’t even easy.
But there’s always hope…
By accepting our mortality, we can place our hope in something, or someone who transcends our current suffering.
A Saviour — Jesus — with whom we will all be united one day. No one else fully understands what you’re facing right now. But He does. Allow yourself to trust him in your hardship.
You are Immanuel.
God with us.
Especially during suffering.
Help me hold on to You, Jesus;
no matter how difficult life can be.