In the Office: Forgotten or Fallow?

The sermon I’m working on this week will invite my congregation to consider some of the difficult life experiences that make us feel forgotten. At one point or another, in ways both big and small, most of us encounter times when we wonder whether God is paying attention. Like David in one of today’s psalms, we ask: “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?” (Psalm 13:1) and we’re tempted to believe that either God no longer cares about our struggle, or He simply doesn’t notice it.

In the OfficeBut as Sunday’s message will suggest, what looks like a “forgotten” season to us may, in fact, be a “fallow” season from the LORD’s perspective. God may not always work on the schedule that we would prefer. But He does act at the “appointed” or “opportune” time:  the time that best serves His purposes — and that allows all the different strands of life’s tapestry to be masterfully woven together.

This, I think, is also part of the message that comes in today’s New Testament lesson (2 Peter 3:1-10). Peter is writing to a group of believers who are being persecuted by the powers that be and who are clearly wondering if they’ve been forgotten. But as Peter reminds them:

Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)

Naturally, it’s my prayer that our “forgotten” seasons will be few and far between. But even in those moments when our burdens push us into sorrow, may we be able to trust that we’re being prepared for times of greater fruitfulness. As one psalm reminds us: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy!” (Psalm 126:5)

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