Hard Times

Mark Fackler

READ : Zechariah 13:7-9

They will call on my name. (v. 9)

In Swahili, the usual greeting is, “How’s your news?” Normally the reply is, “I have no news; all is well.” But all is far from well in Africa. Life is hard, hunger common, jobs scarce, hopes dim.

Zechariah’s short poem acknowledges how tough life is, how fragile is our hold on happiness. Life is more prone to trouble, suffering, and loss than to lottery winning. We can expect worries, sickness, and losses. Even the Lord’s Shepherd (the Messiah) felt such pains. No one is spared.

But the end result for us will be greater love for God and God’s greater voice in our lives. We grow closer to God because the Shepherd too felt the sword. He was also tested and perfected by suffering (Hebrews 5:8-9).

This poem uncovers the deep consequence of sin and rebellion, so deep we fear to face it. Yet the truth must be told. Zechariah reminds us that the Creator is holy and that he will only make his creation holy again through the suffering Shepherd. Yes, all God’s loved ones will return to him once the sin is burned away.

Zechariah leaves much unsaid. The rest of the Bible fills in the gaps. But the poem holds core truth. God will redeem us, lead us, and welcome us back—through every hit and hardship we endure.


Bring us home, Lord; make us whole.