The First Lesson reveals the unchanging consequences of war, women and children left to pick up the pieces after the slaughter ceases. We see that in stark fashion during the ongoing hostilities in Ukraine where those women and children who can, flee, while all men of war-fighting age are required to stay behind and join the war effort.
The selections from Psalm 77 are a lament in the face of the kind of devastation that cannot be repaired in a lifetime or perhaps even in a generation. Sometimes the only honest prayers are the pleas of an abandoned child. Even knowing God’s faithfulness, mentioned in the closing lines, our lived reality can be such that miracles and promises of old are virtually meaningless when our kin lay slaughtered in the streets, when a nation’s legal apparatus is used to be errode and degrade human and civil liberties and when it is not safe to live and love as your true self. It should not be misunderstood that the pleas of the lamenting soul are faithless. Indeed it is an act of faith to call God to remembrance.
While the epistle celebrates the endurance that suffering produces it should not be misunderstood to celebrate suffering. God does not bring evil into our lives to make us better. God can and does transform us in our suffering and out of the wreck that suffering leaves behind.
Similarly, the peace Jesus promises in the gospel will not prevent us from suffering but it like he and the Holy Spirit will accompany us in our suffering.