Find a quiet place, put your earphones in. and pull out a pen and paper. Ensure you won’t be interrupted or distracted for the next few moments.
Take a few deep breaths before beginning, and allow your body to be at ease. Recognize that the Lord is with you. Give thanks that he is near.
Everything has changed. Right now it feels like nothing will ever be the same. The loss we have experienced due to these changes is only just beginning to sink into our souls, and it threatens to crush us in the night. The Lord is acquainted with the crushing night. Jesus models to us how the Father is to be approached in the night, as he prays in the garden of Gethsemane before he dies on the cross. He asks that God might let the cup pass, and yet surrenders to the Father’s will. The mingling of sorrow and surrender is perhaps one of the most holy of intersections. It is worship.
Hear the Lord’s invitation to worship him in the night. To bring your grief, pain, and anger to him. To join all of creation in groaning that this is not as it should be. To participate in his holy sorrow. To join him in the night garden where sorrow and surrender meet. Will you come and pour your heart out to him?
Pause and join Bi Frost Arts as they sing.
Read the following passage slowly. Let the words wash over you as you lean in to hear Jesus speak. If appropriate, read it out loud, or have someone read it to you.
Psalm 77 (ESV)
In the Day of Trouble I Seek the Lord
(To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of Asaph.)
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah
You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah
Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
indeed, the deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water;
the skies gave forth thunder;
your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lighted up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Sit with the passage for a moment before moving on. Allow the Holy Spirit to draw your attention to words or phrases.
Read the passage through again. Pay attention to how it lands on you this time. Has something changed? Was something reinforced?
If you are struggling to identify your grief, consider if any of these fit what you are experiencing:
- Relational change
- Economic loss
- Loss of sense of safety and security
- Role/work/identity loss
- Loss of communal enjoyment (vacations, graduations, weddings, worship services)
- Empathetic sorrow on behalf of others
Take some time to write your own Psalm of Lament. This may take longer than you anticipate, and may need to be done in multiple sittings. The purpose of lament is not to move to resolution quickly, but rather to join God in his sorrow and to pour out your grief and anger to him. To then be reminded of his character, and to resolve to wait patiently for him.
- Begin by bringing your complaints to the Lord. Tell him how you feel.
- How long, oh Lord?
- Where are you?
- Why are you letting this happen?
- What have I done to deserve this?
- Have you abandoned your people?
- What do you most want God to do for you right now? What is your deepest need at this moment? Demand his response.
- Take some time to reflect on what you know is true of God. What are the seen and unseen ways in which God has acted in your life? Thank God for his faithfulness in your life.
- How do you sense the Lord leading you to respond?
Finish by praying your lament to the Lord. If you are comfortable, share it with a trusted friend who won’t try and fix you. Invite them to listen over video chat.
Written by the Spiritual Care and Development Team.