It rained today. The forecast called for thunderstorms; for a short time this afternoon rain descended in a downpour. We needed the rain. Grass in the neighborhood lawns was turning brown. Water levels in area ponds and rivers were noticeably lower. However, I run several days a week, but I do not run during thunderstorms. After the downpour, a soft steady rain continued. Since there was no lightning, I ventured out for a short three mile run in the rain. I had a peaceful run today; I saw only five other runners and a few cyclists. As I navigated between puddles on the asphalt trail, I looked through the forest towards the river flowing nearby. Earlier this week, two deer walked across the trail right in front of me; yesterday, I startled a rabbit as I galloped past. I saw no animals today. As I jogged, I reflected on news stories of the last week – revelations of religious persecution, a Christian university president’s divorce, continuing impact of budget cuts on our government. Each of these stories, I realized, reported people experiencing pain, loss, and disappointment. Even the budgetary constraints change families’ plans, sometimes because they end employment. Each story told of people who need other people to call for fire on their behalf. They need our prayers. As I ran through the rain, I thought too of several tasks I must achieve in the next month to stabilize ministry and income. I need your prayers, too.
In Psalm 123, one of the Psalms of Ascent, the psalmist pleads for God’s mercy. He compares his dependence upon God to that of a slave upon his master, or a maid upon her mistress. He prays, “Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us, for we have endured much contempt” (Psalm 123:3). Perhaps you and I have not endured much contempt lately, but some of the people I mentioned earlier certainly have. Whatever our current situation, we all share this: We need God’s mercy.
So pray that the devastated family members of people who lost their lives because they believed in Jesus will know consolation in their grief. Pray for all who are considering divorce, that they may know reconciliation, or at least peace and safety. Pray for those who now look for a way to support their families financially. Pray for communities torn apart by suspicion and fear. Keep looking forward, focused on Christ. Keep running in faith. Notice subtle reminders of God’s love and his provision for you. And remember, as a saying I once read reminded, “Before the rainbow must come the rain.”
“Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us….”