I’m on vacation. After ending work on Thursday, I went to my favorite coffee shop and then took my coffee to my favorite park for a stroll. I love to end my day with this routine. It allows me to pray, reflect and unwind.
It was then that I was hit by the full realization that I was starting several days of vacation. I actually got a little emotional. I hadn’t realized how taxing work had been on me. I am so thankful that even though I have a very stressful job, it allows me to take breaks so I can step away for several days.
As I was praying, I started thinking about those who are undergoing intense struggle and suffering with no opportunity to step away. I know friends and colleagues, not to mention people that fill our news feeds, who are suffering physically, emotionally, and spiritually with no relief in sight. I don’t know how they can endure such long-term and life-crushing pain.
I don’t know what it’s like to lose a child and face an unfathomable well of grief. Or to lose one’s entire savings and confront the daily panic, despair and regret. Or to hear the doctor’s diagnosis and know one’s life is forever altered.
Scripture verses, advice, and platitudes don’t help in most of these situations. The pain is too deep and unending.
But on behalf of those who are suffering in any way, I pray, “Lord, have mercy” and know our God — our loving, kind and compassionate king and shepherd — hears and is present.