Prepare to Listen. Light your candle of hope for the world and ask the Lord to open your ears to hear his Word today.
Prayerfully Read Lamentations 5:19-22
19 But you, O LORD, reign for ever; your throne endures to all generations.
20 Why have you forgotten us completely? Why have you forsaken us these many days?
21 Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old--
22 unless you have utterly rejected us, and are angry with us beyond measure.
These are the last words in the lament of all lament, Lamentations. They express hope but remain realistic, even anxious.
There’s hope. Our Lord reigns forever! It doesn’t matter who governs, who rules here on earth. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been. It doesn’t matter who thinks they have ultimate authority to decide when and how to open up the nation. It doesn’t matter that the economy is in freefall. What matters is that the Lord reigns forever; God’s throne endures through all generations, including in these uncertain times. Take a deep breath and rest in the absolute control the Sovereign Lord wields.
There’s realism. Despite this great truth of God’s sovereignty, it still feels as if our God has forgotten us completely; forsaken us these many weeks as lockdowns remain in place and the death toll keeps rising and loved ones are left grieving and mourning. (As of April 29, there were over 3 million people infected by the virus and nearly 220 thousand deaths. There have been almost 60 thousand deaths in the U.S.A. alone.)
There’s hope. Hope in the God who reigns forever so we pray: ‘Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored.’ We believe God can and will restore us. Hope isn’t about believing God will restore the world to suit our desires, back to the way things were. Instead, as Barbara Brown Taylor says, hope has to do with “finding ways to live faithfully in the present circumstances” and believing we can find those ways through the Holy Spirit. 
There’s anxiety. But what if God won’t hear us. So we anxiously add to our prayer ‘unless you have utterly rejected us, and are angry with us beyond measure.’ Deep down we know God hasn’t, but what if God has?
Faith is never unrealistic optimism. Our faith is most often a mix of hope that God will restore us and anxious realism that nothing seems to change. What gives you hope and what’s your reality today?
Respond to Jesus
You, O LORD, reign forever. I know this and yet the scene before me today gives me anxiety and I wonder, ‘Why have you forsaken us these many days?’ As I also pray, ‘Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored.’ Amen.
 “Reading Hope in Trying Times.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgUjV5Pdfw8&t=276s