Tuesday 15 December 2020

Bible Book:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. (v. 22)

Lamentations 3:22-33 Tuesday 15 December 2020

Psalm 38:9-22


We read: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases." Really? It doesn’t always seem like that. Tell that to the those separated from loved ones due to Covid-19. Or to a parent who has lost a child or… to any one of us who has suffered in any way through our lives. To explain suffering away as a 'punishment from God' is simply not on. To assume that God punishes through cancer or mudslide, tsunami or hurricane simply attributes to God an appalling sense of aim or a willingness to accept a high level of collateral damage.

 So how do we reconcile suffering with the idea of God's love never ceasing? We live in a world about which we can learn. Our own existence is not only dependent on the geology of our planet, but also on the necessary genetic code – DNA –that has enabled the vast variety of life to have evolved. This same mechanism contains within it the possibility of the existence of organisms and processes which we find unpleasant, damaging and sometimes lethal.

 If the "steadfast love of the Lord never ceases" is to mean anything, it becomes obvious that we sometimes have not completely understood it. Being Christian, being religious, doesn’t lift us out of the reality of life and suffering. Instead it helps us to cope better with living in this world. At best it enables us in the pain and suffering of existence to work with the purpose of godly love, as we seek to show that love to one another. Miracles, in the sense of the unexpected and inexplicable, do sometimes occur, but we cannot depend on God suspending the very nature of the created universe so that we can have rain instead of drought, pure unmitigated health instead of illness and never suffer the pain of bereavement. What the incarnation suggests is that the God we worship has not just watched  the misfortune of humanity from a distance, but has dived into our midst and been embodied in our nature. In the life of Christ we witness God’s steadfast love. Through all and in all this remains a reality when we utter words of compassion, empathise with another in loss, and seek to live with a greater depth of love in the world and with each other.

 To Ponder:

  • How can we cope when we encounter passages in the Bible which appear to contradict one another?
  • How can we demonstrate God’s love in our day-to-day living?
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