We Are Never Abandoned by God, AMEN!

In this life there is no permanent joy. Sorrow comes unbidden, and often threatens to overwhelm us, but we are never abandoned by God. We can put our faith in the fact that: “In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)

This psalm is a lament and was probably composed shortly after the Israelites had returned from exile. The people are rejoicing that they are back in Zion, but they are aware that just being there is not enough. They must start anew, they must pray and work hard for a return to prosperity and for the fertility of the land. Joy and hard work are never far apart in this life. The realities of life are difficult, yet, even in the midst of suffering there is always room for moments of great joy. Sometimes life seems dry, like a desert. Sometimes our lives are weighted down with tears, but if we keep our hearts and our wills set on God and his precepts, if we work hard, our tears will be turned into joy and our hard work will produce much fruit.

It is always darkest just before the dawn. But the sun always rises and pushes back the darkness. We, the children of God, were lost in sin and darkness until Jesus Christ came among us and willingly suffered on our behalf out of his infinite love for us. Yes, the sun rises to push back the darkness of night each new morning, but even this will one day come to an end. Jesus, though, pushed back the darkness of sin and death once and for all, for all eternity.

Yes, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death in this life, if we keep our eyes on God and discipline our wills to do what he commands of us more and more each day; if we carry forth the seed of faith into the world with our lives, we too will go home to live with him forever, bearing our bundled sheaves shouting with cries of joy.

Lord, we know that life is difficult, but we are filled with faith in your love and mercy toward us. Strengthen us in our daily struggles. Grace us with your love, fill us to overflowing so that we may share it freely and joyfully throughout the daily chores and adventures of our lives. We pray these things believing in the power of your holy name, Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.