“…nowhere to lay his head”
Lamentations 3: 19-26 (NRSVA)
19 The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
is wormwood and gall!
20 My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in him.’
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
There have been times in my life when, for various reasons and varying amounts of time, I have been effectively homeless. This is not to say that I had no roof over my head; rather, the roof was not my home and I had no place, or space, where I felt I belonged. I existed, like tumbleweed in a wilderness, longing for rootedness.
At those times, I could identify with the writer of Lamentations: “my soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.” Part of the anxiety, the ache, was due to seeing no end in prospect. I woke each day with a sense of hopelessness and struggled not to sink into despair.
At these times, however, I was aware of two things: that despite apparent silence from heaven, I still believed that God loved and cared for me, and that others were, in the words of the hymn, holding “the Christ light for [me] in the night time of [my] fear.”
And so, also in common with the writer of Lamentations, I was never without hope, a hope which was not disappointed. Indeed, “the Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.”
Jesus, our companion on the journey,
we know that you, too, had nowhere to lay your head.
We thank you that you understand hopelessness and despair.
We thank you that you understand wilderness times,
times of dislocation and abandonment,
whether literal or metaphorical.
We thank you that when we stand in that wilderness,
knowing neither where we are, nor where we should be going,
struggling to pierce the fog that is the future,
struggling to see a way forward in the darkness,
that you are with us,
guiding us, even when all we can do
is put one foot in front of the other.
You give us hope when there are a few reasons to hope.
You are merciful when we have no need to expect mercy.
You are faithful when all around have abandoned us.
As we wait for you, your salvation waits for us, Amen.