Over the past 2 weeks, our family, along with most others I know, were thrown into homeschooling, working from home, laid off, or have an “essential” job facing this COVID-19 head-on. (Thank you by the way! Your service is not going unnoticed!)
I don’t know about you, but this abrupt change has been… well… It’s been something… and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have felt overly stressed or overwhelmed most of the time these past 14 days and we’re not even in quarantine! One thing is certain about me, I do NOT like abrupt change. HAHA! Anyone else with me?!
But, in light of all that, God’s got a sweet, constant reminder and gift for all of us… the gift of grace, especially in our time of weakness as 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 tells us. God intended this grace to be sufficient for a day’s use, one day at a time- like the Manna that he provided to the Israelites while in the desert, we too get the portion He knows we need for today alone. AND Tomorrow.., His mercy will be new in the morning, therefore, we can rejoice and be glad in it! Hallelujah!
On a heavier note, how many of us are working through the disappointments of thing after thing being canceled, rescheduled or postponed indefinitely? How many of us don’t get to find this time as a vacation but have to keep working, encountering the everyday anxiety of “What If I get the virus?!” or think/complain, “What’s all the worry?” or “Why are they not staying at home?” or “Why does this type of disappointment always seem to happen to me?” How many of us are afraid that we might lose a loved one because of this virus, and, if that’s the case, grieving this may be the last time we see them and it’s virtual?!
There’s hope in our complaint, disappointment, angst, and grief too. It’s called LAMENT. We’ve heard this over the past few months via email, at the pulpit or maybe you’ve read the book “Woke Church” by Eric Mason that was recommended to us during Black History Month (fantastic read btw). Below I have 3 more places to encourage you to go to learn, practice and grow more deeply in this form of prayer; “lament.” God’s familiar and comfortable with this grief, angst, complaint, etc when we are coming to Him with it. He invites us to come to Him with our heavy burdens, weary souls for He will give us rest because His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
This season of COVID-19 is likely not going to get easier. It’s likely going to press into some of our deepest sorrows, idols, anxieties- this list can go on. I have found a few places that may be helpful to do what I mentioned above bringing hope in learning, practicing and growing in our lament and thus growing in closer, greater relationship with our Abba Father.
First, this blog was shared with me about understanding the coronavirus biblically, it’s just good, quick and good.
Second, Throughout the Psalms we can find Lament. Here are a handful: Psalms 3-7, 22, 25,26, 28, 51, 54-61, 77, 123, 143
Last but NOT least, (I am really excited about this- obviously not before the Bible)
“Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy,” by Mark Vroegep. If you can make time in this COVID-19 season to sit with your Bible, a journal and this book, you won’t regret it. It is written to teach us how to lament and lament with Scripture. It’s available at just about any bookstore online. Better yet, since we’ve gone almost all virtual, if you have a Milwaukee or Tosa Public Library membership, you can check out this audiobook, for FREE, via the Hoopla app. (If you need a library card you can get a temporary MKE Library membership by going to mpl.org and talking to a librarian via their chatbox on the bottom right-hand corner of your computer screen.)
As the grief of what is happening all around us in different forms, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in Milwaukee, in Wisconsin, in the US, around the globe, will likely grow, let us continue to learn how to Lament with God. We can do it with a joy that can only come from the Lord Himself.
I will leave you with the prayer that has been on my heart and mind the past 2 weeks:
ISAIAH 43:1-2 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
Grace and peace everyone!
Ministry Lead Biblical Counseling Care Team
Imago Dei Church