When this verse from Exodus 15 appeared in my daily readings this morning, I didn’t think of praise or the awesome things that God has done. No, what came to mind were the many people I know who, at this very moment, are grappling with extremely difficult personal situations. Oh, we know that we “should” start by praising and thanking God, but it sure is a stretch at times. How can we even think, “Thank you, God!” when our house may be foreclosed, when we have no break from caring for the multiple needs of our children, when our aging parents take all our time and energy, when…? It’s not simply that we have to deal with these situations, but that we don’t envision any good outcome or solution, any holiness, splendor or wonder. That’s despair!!
But there’s got to be hope. Our Christian faith is all about hope, which we can find throughout scripture. However, if we only hold onto the hopeful, positive words, they begin to feel hollow in times of despair. Nor should we wallow in the laments or “sin-filled” stories. I feel most faithful when I read a variety—the good, bad, and hopeful; the Old and New Testament; the Torah, Prophets, Psalms, Gospels and Epistles. God in all God’s complexity.