Friday 18 September
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Feeling abandoned

In this reflection Val Hindmarsh writes about feeling abandoned. She references both Isaiah 40: 27-31 and the words of Julian of Norwich and explores doubt, exhaustion, confusion, and frustration in the face of tragedy but also the gentle reassurance of knowing that we will not be overcome, God is listening.


The apparent distance or absence of God in our encounters with tragedy, and our feelings of abandonment in times of pain are all too familiar problems. Few are exempt. Often our experiences seem to defy us to find the words to ask the far reaching questions, far less attempt any answers. Rather we are stunned into silence. Perhaps this is why in Isaiah 40: 27-31, when asking what Israel is thinking and speaking of, God doesn’t wait for a response, but articulates what he already knows his people to be experiencing, ’My right is disregarded by my God’ they cry. Anger, perplexity and weariness soon follow frustration.

Whatever the trouble, Israel is assured that what is already known of their God and his character and of themselves is pertinent even in the darkness. God’s intent is to comfort his people and to speak tenderly. Power to the faint…and strength is given to those who ask and is received by those who wait, one of the hardest things for us to do.

Mother Julian of Norwich reminds us that, “God did not say, ‘You shall not be tempest-tossed, you shall not be work-weary, you shall not be discomforted.’ But he said, ‘You shall not be overcome.’ God wants us to heed these words so that we shall always be strong in trust, both in sorrow and in joy.”


God,

There are times when

Like the psalmist, I cry

‘Why do you hide your face from me?’


Often I don’t understand the events

Occurring around me,

Or the anguish within,

And you seem so far away.


I want to walk and not be faint,

Run and not weary,

And even fly.


God,

Show me how to wait.

Amen.


Val Hindmarsh


#anguish #isolation #exasperation #loneliness #patience #honesty

Words of comfort

Isaiah 40: 27-31

Why do you complain, Jacob?

Why do you say, Israel,

“My way is hidden from the Lord;

my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary

and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,

and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 102: 1-2

Hear my prayer, Lord;

let my cry for help come to you.

Do not hide your face from me

when I am in distress.

Turn your ear to me;

when I call, answer me quickly.

Psalm 130: 5-6

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,

and in his word I put my hope.

I wait for the Lord

more than watchmen wait for the morning,

more than watchmen wait for the morning.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-11

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.

Prayers

There are times

God,

There are times when

Like the psalmist, I cry

‘Why do you hide your face from me?’

Often I don’t understand the events

Occurring around me,

Or the anguish within,

And you seem so far away.

Show me

God,

Show me how to wait.

Amen.