"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." (Lamentations 3:24 ESV) In this age of equity and our daily focus on fairness and rights, today’s from God, even when spoken as a lament, reminds us of where our true hope is found – in the One who has made us His portion – Jesus!

The Bible is filled with many stories about the inequities that we experience in life and even within our own families. Isaac loved Esau, but Rachel loved Jacob. Jacob showed special favor to Joseph leading to his own brothers selling him into slavery. What was so special about Noah or Abraham, David or Jeremiah, Mark or Silas? Why did God look with regard on Abel and his sacrifice and not on Cain and his? We might be tempted to define some underlying reason, or quality in why God chooses one over another and yet, the Bible is clear – “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). We are all in need of a Savior, a Redeemer.

The words of Lamentations are a powerful reminder to us today that we, in Christ, have become His portion! We need to remember that Lamentations is a short poem of five chapters arranged in such a way as to point to the central hope even amid the devastating judgement and hopelessness of the day. For Jeremiah, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of the LORD called for lament, for weeping and tears. Each chapter is a series of 22 verses, one for each letter in the Hebrew alphabet, with chapter three containing 3 verses for each letter. It might be tempting to look at verse 24 in chapter 3 as a kind of futile resignation to the hopelessness of the moment. Yet, the gospel lesson for today (Mark 5) and the letter to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 8) remind us that this is hope. This is faith. Even when we have nothing, we have God. He is our portion.

Both Jairus and the woman that came to touch Jesus were at the very end of their rope. In fact, Jairus has to endure the tragic news “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” (Mark 5:35) Like Jeremiah, they experienced the total leveling of all that made life worth living. Jeremiah weeps over Jerusalem and the Temple because they have been swept away and are no more. God’s righteous judgement has come. Yet in this moment, the prophet sees his hope and portion to be not a city, or a building, but God alone. As Jesus received the blows we deserve, we recognize that God is making us His portion. His riches fill our poverty as our poverty consumes Him, and our lives are filled with an unending overflow of grace as He lives again and shows our debt to be paid in full.

This is the good news that Paul uses to exhort (not extort!) the church in Corinth. Their capacity to give, to join him in his ministry is an opportunity for them to share in the needs of others. This is a chance for them to see that both in wealth and poverty, God provides and grants us to trust in Him alone. Our offerings and gifts are not out of compulsion, but rather out of the free and willing Spirit that He gives us. These gifts that we collect and share in each week are an expression of His love and faithfulness as we respond in faith towards Him – the One who became poor that we would be rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). This is then what fairness and equity look like – hope and trust in Him alone!

We may experience unfairness in our lives for sure. We may face challenges that seem at the time more than we can bare. But the cross of Jesus is there to remind us that our portion is the LORD just as He has made us His portion! In Him we have no lack. I am His portion and He is mine!

Pastor Carl