Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Saturday, April 1, 2023 – Morning
By Jenny Cross, Director of Youth Ministry
Read: Micah 7:7
Several years ago, I traveled through the Bible with a chronological yearly reading plan. Our Bibles are printed canonically – essentially meaning the books of scripture are grouped together by themes. So, when you read a chronological plan, you move back and forth between different books. The first part of Genesis then jumps to Job, stories of David in 2 Samuel coordinate with stories in Chronicles and the Psalms, and so on. I expected to learn about the overall timeline of scripture, approaching this as an educational experience. But I was surprised and deeply moved by the way this trip through scripture drastically changed my perspective on God’s love, mercy, and grace.
Over and over in the Old Testament, we see God’s prophets (His messengers) given the task of sharing news with His people (the Israelites). But more often than not, these prophets experience rejection and frustration. Their words are not received or are intentionally rebelled against. How exhausting their jobs must have been! But nearly all the time, they remain steadfast. (Jonah is another story for another time.) And while this is the pattern of the prophets time and time again, I am always a little surprised when they respond to hardship with trust and praise.
The prophet Micah’s message is one of accusation and warning, but paired with hope and restoration. He reminds Israel of their faithlessness and calls them back to God. In the final chapter of the book, he opens with a poem of lament. One translation titles it “Israel’s Misery.” But in the final statement of that poem, something changes. It says, “But me! I will keep watch for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” And the book closes with more poems about Israel’s restoration and God’s compassion.
Lent is often a time when I’m keenly aware of suffering and misery. This year, especially as we approach Holy Week, I want to adopt the posture of Micah. When I am frustrated by the crowd yelling “Crucify;” when the struggles of daily life leave me tired, and weak and worn; when I, like the disciples, wrestle with doubt and disbelief, I want to say, “But me! I will keep watch for the Lord.”
Lord, You are steadfast when we are not. Your love remains when we fail. You offer grace and mercy that we could never earn or deserve. Help us turn our hearts toward you. Remind us to keep watch for your steady presence. We will wait for you. And we know you hear our prayers. Amen.