Read: 1 Samuel 4.18 (NRSV)
The period of rule by the Judges was an interesting time for the ‘heroes’ of the people. Leaders popped up in times of crisis. One of the great judges, Eli, ruled forty years with confidence and success. Near the end of his reign, God’s people were at war with the Philistines and were being attacked in a terrible way. His two sons died in the battle. But when Eli heard the Ark of the Covenant had been captured, he literally fell over and died on the spot.
To hold the Ark is to be in God’s full presence, and the ark and its power had been entrusted to the Hebrews. To have the ark stolen is to be separated from God. It was also to be powerless and lost. While it was awful news that his children were killed in battle, without God he was in full shock and defeat. To journey without God is to be lost. Disciples seek to stay in God’s presence even during the tragedy. How we handle difficult news and times of great loss are milestones for both ourselves and for generations to come.
Our year in pandemic-mode has been filled with many shocking experiences. We are likely worn thin from numerous events, news, grief, and hardship. Each of these reminds us how great is God’s power. We also see how much we need God’s guiding strength when ours is tested. The Lenten journey is our time to seek for God to restore and strengthen us.
Call to Action: Think of someone who appears to be spiritually struggling. If you cannot think of someone, take courage, and ask someone, “Honestly, how is it with your soul today?” Think of ways you can bring the presence of God into your home, work, school, travels, and conversations. Where God is present there will be life and wholeness.
Prayer: Thank you God for being with us on this journey. You never leave us. You never give up on us. Help us to trust you more. Amen.