Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those God redeemed from the hand of the foe. – Psalm 107:2 (NIV)
The Lenten season is a season of expectancy. Forty days of sacrifice in expectation of the glorious resurrection celebration. We wait for the realization of deliverance as we muddle through the drudgeries of wilderness existence.
While waiting for wonderful things to unfold, we are tempted to forget that our God is not just the God of glorious outcomes. Our God is also the God of purposeful processes and meaningful struggles. Celebrating a good product is hollow without fully understanding the value of the input. Anthems of victory are far less inspiring without listening to the rhythm and blues of those who extract deep melody out of deep misery.
How Jesus sustained his devotion in the wilderness is even more relevant for us right now than the final triumph of the empty tomb.
There are those among us who face ominous challenges, but still rely on the sufficiency of God’s amazing grace. We need them to tell their stories.
There are those suffering through chasms of personal pain, but still refuse to relinquish their duties of service and sacrifice for others in need. We need to hear their testimonies.
There are those bludgeoned by the bitter confrontations between justice and bigotry…truth and fallacy…self-centered interests and conscientious commitment…but who steadfastly continue to fight the good fight. We need their expressions of insight.
According to Maya Angelou, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”
These days of crucial testing call for the witness of those in crisis, but who are yet redeemed.
“This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.” (Fanny Crosby’s “Blessed Assurance”)
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.