The Psalms are full of sad verses, desperate pleas for help, lonely cries for mercy in the night. Today’s readings are no different. The depth of despair that the psalmists write from pull me in and help me engage with scripture in a powerful way. They give a voice to the brokenness I see in our world and in my own life.
“How long, Lord God Almighty,
will your anger smolder
against the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears;
you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.” (Psalm 80:4-6)
And in the same breath, the psalmist refocuses my vision on the hope of rescue.
” Awaken your might;
come and save us.” (Psalm 80:2)
“Restore us, God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.” (Psalm 80:7)
These ancient pleas also help me make sense of the Lent and Easter seasons. For 40 days, we are called to repentance, sacrifice, and deeply honest dealings with our own brokenness and the broken world around us. Lent pulls us into an increased awareness of our desperate need for rescue.
Today’s reading from Mark points us to our Great Rescuer, Christ, and his kindness to heal a very sick woman:
“She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” (Mark 5:26).
Just like the psalmist, this woman was well acquainted with despair. Many of us who have dealt with any kind of devastating illness can instantly feel the desperation that the sick woman felt. And then…
“When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:27-29)
Lent, suffering, despair. In the midst of all of it, there is Christ. There is the promise of rescue and full restoration. There is imminent celebration of the resurrected Savior that gives us rich hope.
Sometimes our whole life feels like Lent, like the lonely nights that the psalmists spent waiting on the goodness of the Lord to break in. And yet, Christ is still there with us in our brokenness and ready to feast with us at Easter. Ready for us to partner with him in his plan to restore and renew the whole world. My prayer for this season is that the depths of Lent will make the promise of resurrection all the more powerful and sweet to us.