God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
-Psalm 46:1, NRSV
In this time, it may be all too easy to lose yourself in the bleak and overwhelming headlines. Rising pandemic death tolls. Worrying economic downturns. Raging wildfires. Churning hurricanes. Racial injustice. Civil unrest. Heightened divisions.
The result? For many of us… growing fear and waning hope.
If you’re not feeling the weight of growing fear and waning hope — God bless you! Go in grace!
But if you are… perhaps you, like me, will appreciate the prayer I came across in one of my devotional books… a prayer by Laurence Hull Stookey, entitled “In Times of Great Distress.” (Fitting, don’t you think?)
God, our help and our hope in every time of life:
we bow before you in distress and confusion.
Devastation and death seem to rule your world today.
We know not where to turn, nor even how to pray.
Assure us that you know our thoughts before we think them, that you accept petitions that have no words,
prayers that are inarticulate anguish,
even anger in the face of events we do not understand.
Remind us of your presence with Jesus
in his hours of agony,
in the face of abandonment by many whom he trusted,
in the pain of crucifixion,
and even in death itself.
Enable us to know that you do not desert us
but in times of need stand even closer than before.
Comfort those who mourn.
Give hope to those who seem to have lost all hope.
With your healing power, touch any who are injured;
to all medical and rescue workers
give patient endurance, wisdom and skill.
As you give us opportunity to serve those in need,
grant also generous spirits
and the wise and efficient use of our abilities
in offering aid.
If today our words of praise are mute,
if today we find it easier to curse than to bless,
point us to the empty tomb,
which lies beyond the cross.
Remind us that it may be “Friday” now,
but in your Providence, Sunday’s coming,
and your love will see us through
For you, O God, are our hope and our strength,
an ever-present help in time of trouble;
to you we pray through Jesus Christ
who triumphs over all things.
(Laurence Hull Stookey, This Day: A Wesleyan Way of Prayer, p. 136-137)
We may be living through a “Friday,” friends… but we’re Christian people, resurrection people, Easter people. Even when it’s Friday, we know Sunday’s coming.
Breathe, and trust, and remember:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
- Make a gift to support our mission: https://wesleychurch.com/giving-2/
- View our recent messages: https://wesleychurch.com/sermon-message-on-video/
- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/