Week 4 - Holy Suffering

Easter is only two weeks away. Fourteen days. So much can happen in fourteen days. Our everyday lives have changed quickly in the last two weeks and I’m not sure what Easter will look like this year. You might be wondering too.

This Lenten season has held much suffering for so many. Suffering at all levels, from interrupted plans and cancellations to unemployment, hospitalization and for many globally, death. And in the middle of it all, I am reminded that Easter is about life, not death. Today our world looks different and we are being asked to let go of our normal. To let go of our usual and stay home. Even as we let go, God never lets go of us.

Many are suffering and have been suffering long before Covid-19. As we think about all the girls growing up in poverty and the suffering this brings, we can trust that the love of Jesus endures suffering. And His love never fails. It won't fail you, or me, or those in poverty.

Today, you'll have the great honor of hearing from Noelle*. She's inspiring! God is moving in and through her! Don't be distracted with feelings of "it's not fair!" Instead, rejoice with her that even through her suffering, God is working.

As we think about Noelle and girls like her in our world today, we turn to the story of Hagar. Hagar suffered rejection, mistreatment, and the fear of loneliness. Hagar's story doesn't seem fair, and yet when she runs away from home in Genesis 16, she is met by an angel. And just when it looks like things could be looking up, that angel guides her right back home into that painful situation.

Where is God in the suffering? Hagar has an answer for us — He is "the God who sees me." He is near. In the moments marked with the most significant suffering, He is near to the brokenhearted.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. — Psalm 34:18, NIV

Remember that He holds and comforts a spirit crushed by injustice, grief, or distress. I thank God for His work in the circumstances and souls of the girls like Noelle, whose video you'll find below. Poverty can feel hopeless. Maybe today you feel hopeless and afraid of tomorrow. I want to encourage you that God is the God of hope. He is the God who sees.  He is the God who is near the brokenhearted. 

The Lord cared for Hagar. The Lord still cares. He cares for Noelle, He cares for you. He cares for me. He cares about the well-being of the most vulnerable ones in our world. He never let’s go.

He cares and He calls. He calls us to be His hands and feet in our world. He calls us to make a difference in the lives of others—He calls us to love others. (See Matthew 25:34-36)

In these last two weeks of Lent, let’s love one another well. Let’s make a difference to someone by serving. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, It can be a card in the mail, an offer to pick up some groceries, a quick text to a mom with kids at home or a big smile and a wave as you walk by someone, (six feet apart, of course). Even the smallest gesture can bring hope to someone.

Pray for one another.

In this together,
Candace

 

*name changed to protect privacy

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. — Isaiah 1:17, NIV