As I write this on this Sunday afternoon, the rain is bucketing down outside my window and the festival of Three Weeks, or Tish B’Av, is fast approaching.
At first glance, it seems like a solemn afternoon, but there’s a glimmer of hope among it all.
For those who are unaware, The festival of Three Weeks is an Old Testament festival of mourning, where Jews and Christians reflect on the tragedies that occurred shortly after the Exodus out of Egypt.
One of these events is known as The Sin Of The Golden Calf, which is found in Exodus 32.
This account, takes place after Moses meets with God on Mt Sinai to claim the 10 Commandments. However the Israelites calculate that Moses has been gone for longer than they expected, and they are worried about loosing what appears to be, their only connection to God. So, the Israelites combined all the gold that they had to create an idol of a calf, which they worshipped to feel a connection to something.
The same people who had seen God split the Red Sea in half not long before, lost hope and turned from God.
What they didn’t realise however, was that Moses would return soon after and that God had been with them, the whole time.
When we read this in the Torah, we can see everything from hindsight and we get mad at the Israelites for not waiting just a tiny bit longer; but what we don’t realise is that we are all in the same position, some 5,000 years later.
Most of us, even those of different faiths, feel like God has left us alone at one point or another. Some of us even believe that the isolation and pain we feel, will never end.
Just like the Israelites, we forget that God has already parted the Red Sea for us once or many times before.
In times of inevitable sadness, God channels our pain into wisdom. As secular poet and playwright Aeschylus once wrote
He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
If I were to use my afternoon as an example – The rain forced me into the confines of my house, but a beautiful rainbow appeared once the clouds had dried up.
So my message to all people this Tish B’Av, but especially to Christians – mourn, remember and rejoice.
Mourn the suffering that our ancestors endured, remember all the times that God has come through and rejoice that we have been redeemed by Yeshua Ha Mashiach – After all, the pain we feel now was never supposed to be carried beyond the cross.
Tish B’Av commences July 23rd 2016 and ends on August 14th 2016.