Mana Minute (March ’21)

Written by Matthew Rice, Berkshire Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary Student and MTI Mentor 

 

I recently saw a poll while scrolling online that said, “It’s March” and asked respondents to choose between “Again” or “Still.” It’s a funny question, but I’m curious: what’s your answer?

 

For many in our communities and across the globe this pandemic has felt like an eternity, a never-ending continuation of that Friday that many took off for safety only to return at the end of the year to clean up their things. As we’ve navigated this time together, adapting our schedules, our habits, and even our future plans, have you changed or altered your daily habits and rhythms with the Lord? Have you found yourself crying out to the Lord more, asking “why” and pleading for Him to restore this broken creation? Maybe you’re one of the many who have found themselves surrounded by the darkness that comes with mental health struggles and the toll that this year-long March has taken on us all.

 

God’s Word speaks directly to moments of doubt, insecurity, and a numbing uncertainty for the future. In Lamentations, God’s people cry out to the Lord at the loss of His Temple. The dwelling place of the Lord has been removed from the people of Israel, they feel dejected, lost, and entirely helpless. Where is God in those moments? As we sit, uncomfortably, often with tears in our eyes and a sadness in our hearts, God speaks and reminds us that He is in control of all things.

 

After crying out the Lord, the writer of Lamentations is reminded of the steadfast love of the Lord: “His mercies are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-23) God continues to speak, leading the author to have confidence and a steadfast hope for future trials that are certain to come. “For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though He cause grief, He will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” (Lam. 3:32-33) What marvelous news! Our God provides and protects us, even as we struggle. In an endless March, recall that God “does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.” (Lam. 3:34)

 

No matter how long this pandemic lingers, remember that God’s love never changes. God does not afflict from the heart, rather He longs that His creation might be restored to Him. Just as Jesus came to redeem us from our sin, restoring us back to the Lord, so we trust that God will once again provide for us in any affliction we face. “But, the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.” (2 Tim. 4:17-18) May you, like Paul, take heart and continue to boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ until He returns.

 

Published March 1st, 2021