One Good Thought: Hope in Times of Sorrow

“O Lord of Hosts, be with us for we have none other hope in times of sorrow but Thee….” Great Compline Service  

I love the Lenten Great Compline service (which includes the scriptures quoted in this post), because it reminds me that even when I feel deep sorrow-when I might feel there is no hope- I’m not alone in feeling that way (obviously lots of others needed this service too through the centuries) and I’m not actually without hope.

Sometimes we solve problems by asking a friend, calling mom, or hiring a plumber, but then there are those other problems-the ones that aren’t fixable, when no one can comfort us much, and no one can make our sorrow go away. The ones you’re thinking about right now that you might not even want to think about, that cause others to feel sad for you, or that make you feel so alone. These problems show us how much we need God and give us a glimpse of how fragile and broken this life is.

“For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath humbled my life down to the earth. He hath sat me in darkness as those that have been long dead, and my spirit within me is become despondent; within me my heart is troubled.” Psalm 142

True, there is no magic wand that’ll make problems go away. Some of my sorrows will accompany me for life. I may not get the answer I want to my prayers, in fact I’m not sure I ever do, but this hope transcends problems.

“O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto Thee. Turn not Thy face away from me; in the day when I am afflicted, incline Thine ear unto me.” Psalm 101

God hears all our petitions, even when we think He’s not listening. God is with us in the hard times and in our commonplace problems- even when the solution comes from asking mom. Faith grows out of perseverance, not out of easily answered prayers. It can be hard to perceive His presence, but He is with us. Sorrow is universal, but so is God’s faithfulness and mercy.

“Therefore hast Thou heard the voice of my supplication when I cried unto Thee. O love ye the Lord, all ye His saints, for the Lord requireth truth; and unto them that act with exceeding pride, He rendereth them their due. Be ye courageous, and let your heart be strengthened, all ye that hope in the Lord.” Psalm 30

We have Hope in times of sorrow because God is merciful and He is near the broken hearted. He comforts those who mourn and His mercy and lovingkindness last forever. His comfort comes in surprising and often subtle ways, but it is there when we turn to Him.

We have hope: God is with us. In His mercy, God blesses us in times of joy and comforts us in times of sorrow. His love endures beyond the problems of this life and in eternity we’ll be delivered from grief and sorrow. Our challenge is to have faith despite our current circumstances, to notice and repent when we’re off the path, to remember others who have been faithful and be like them, to trust in His loving mercy, to endure, and sometimes to creatively thrive in times of sorrow.

He that dwelleth in the help of the Most High shall abide in the shelter of the God of Heaven. He shall say unto the Lord: Thou art my helper and my refuge. He is my God, and I will hope in Him. For He shall deliver thee from the snare of the hunters and from every troubling word. With His shoulders will He overshadow thee, and under His wings shalt thou have hope. With a shield will His truth encompass thee; thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the thing that walketh in darkness, nor for the mishap and demon of noonday.” Psalm 90

Lord, help me to have hope under Your wing.

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