The news was pretty bleak today…I mean, hasn’t it been for days and days on end? But today Ontario released projections of how much this pandemic could cost our province. And the numbers were overwhelming.
I’ll admit to you that I sat, watching Premier Ford and his health ministers during today’s 2pm briefing and sobbed. It was so weird – on the one hand, they weren’t saying anything we didn’t know: this is bad, lives are at stake, we are in unprecedented times. But on the other hand, it all felt a little more real hearing the projected numbers. And I guess I just needed to let that emotion out.
And as I sat there – overwhelmed with emotion and not able to stop sobbing – I got thinking a bit about lament. Lament is the Biblical practice of turning to God in the midst of our sorrow. It is the practice of crying out to God.
In this article, pastor and author Mark Vroegop says that lament has four elements: turning to God, bringing your complaint, asking boldly for help, and choosing to trust God. I like that, very much.
You can see this process play out in Psalm 13:
On the one hand it shows us that it is Biblical to feel overwhelmed, to have that moment when you can’t stop crying. On the other hand, the Bible teaches that we aren’t to stay there. To stay in that place is to give in to despair. And despair is not faithful…despair says that there is no hope, there is no help, and things will never get better.
If you listened closely to Premiere Ford’s update, you might have picked up the impressive detail that the measures taken so far have saved thousands of lives. Without the things we are all struggling with – staying at home, the loss of all our gatherings, social distancing when we have to go somewhere, having chapped hands from all the washing – thousands more people would have died by now. That’s a silver lining – the things we are doing are making a difference!
So there is hope, there is the ability in each of us to make a difference, and things will get better.
Cry when you need to, friends – but I encourage you to remember to make the effort to not just cry, but to lament. To turn to God, to ask for help and to continue to trust in Him.
(And just so you’re not too worried about me – at the end of the briefing, I turned off the tv, put on my running clothes and headed out for 3 miles with Koski. You can’t sob when you’re running! I got back home, made a healthy (and delicious) burrito bowl for dinner. And then I sat down to write this. And as always, in trying to write something that might help others, I found God whispering into my soul, also. I choose to trust Him.)