I’m overwhelmed with sorrow!
sunk in a swamp of despair!
I’m like someone who goes to the garden
to pick cabbages and carrots and corn
And returns empty-handed,
finds nothing for soup or sandwich or salad.
There’s not a decent person in sight.
Right-living humans are extinct.
They’re all out for one another’s blood,
animals preying on each other.
They’ve all become experts in evil.
Corrupt leaders demand bribes.
The powerful rich
make sure they get what they want.
The best and brightest are thistles.
The top of the line is crabgrass.
But no longer: It’s exam time.
Look at them slinking away in disgrace!
Don’t trust your neighbor,
don’t confide in your friend.
Watch your words,
even with your spouse.
Neighborhoods and families are falling to pieces.
The closer they are—sons, daughters, in-laws—
The worse they can be.
Your own family is the enemy.
* * *
But me, I’m not giving up.
I’m sticking around to see what GOD will do.
I’m waiting for God to make things right.
I’m counting on God to listen to me.
Don’t, enemy, crow over me.
I’m down, but I’m not out.
I’m sitting in the dark right now,
but GOD is my light.
I can take GOD’s punishing rage.
I deserve it—I sinned.
But it’s not forever. He’s on my side
and is going to get me out of this.
He’ll turn on the lights and show me his ways.
I’ll see the whole picture and how right he is.
And my enemy will see it, too,
and be discredited—yes, disgraced!
This enemy who kept taunting,
“So where is this GOD of yours?”
I’m going to see it with these, my own eyes—
my enemy disgraced, trash in the gutter.
* * *
Oh, that will be a day! A day for rebuilding your city,
a day for stretching your arms, spreading your wings!
All your dispersed and scattered people will come back,
old friends and family from faraway places,
From Assyria in the east to Egypt in the west,
from across the seas and out of the mountains.
But there’ll be a reversal for everyone else—massive depopulation—
because of the way they lived, the things they did.
Shepherd, O GOD, your people with your staff,
your dear and precious flock.
Uniquely yours in a grove of trees,
centered in lotus land.
Let them graze in lush Bashan
as in the old days in green Gilead.
Reproduce the miracle-wonders
of our exodus from Egypt.
And the godless nations: Put them in their place—
humiliated in their arrogance, speechless and clueless.
Make them slink like snakes, crawl like cockroaches,
come out of their holes from under their rocks
And face our GOD.
Fill them with holy fear and trembling.
* * *
Where is the god who can compare with you—
wiping the slate clean of guilt,
Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear,
to the past sins of your purged and precious people?
You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long,
for mercy is your specialty. That’s what you love most.
And compassion is on its way to us.
You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing.
You’ll sink our sins
to the bottom of the ocean.
You’ll stay true to your word to Father Jacob
and continue the compassion you showed Grandfather Abraham—
Everything you promised our ancestors
from a long time ago.