“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17
As this pandemic drags on, I’ve found myself drawn to unexpected places in my Bible reading. I’ve long loved excerpts from the minor prophets, particularly these encouraging words of comfort we hear in Zephaniah. I’m realizing, though, that I’ve always pulled them out of context and applied them to my own life, without thinking about the real suffering that precedes and follows these prophetic declarations. I’ve not stopped to ask, for instance, why Zephaniah’s audience needed to be quieted or comforted, or what they needed to be saved from. A quick reading confirms the dire truth that Zephaniah’s world was crumbling around him, and the surrounding cities were also soon to be reduced to ruins.
Scripture is full of desolation and destruction, of suffering on a far greater scale than anything we’ve experienced (even now!). Yet the Bible tells the story of God’s hand on his people through every conceivable circumstance, and Scripture declares God’s redemptive plan for humankind. God has always gone before and behind his people to create a way through the wilderness, and this current crisis is no exception!
When I remember my place in God’s story I am filled with great hope, and I also find the freedom to approach God with my fears. None of my anxieties are new to God, and he will indeed quiet me with his love and rejoice over me with singing. And once I’ve received his comfort and delight, I can share it with my loved ones; I can find joy and delight in them-in any circumstance-because my Father is mighty to save.
Holy Trinity Member
*This article has been republished from the Holy Trinity Student Ministry weekly newsletter dated April 22, 2020. If you would like to receive this information-rich newsletter, subscribe now.