This morning I read the following on a Facebook post: “Two years ago this was our last normal week and nobody knew it.” It’s unsettling to realise how out of reach our ‘normal’ of over two years ago is. Added to that is the anxiety and sadness at the recent crises happening in our own country and abroad. The ashes of Lent remind us of the death and brokenness in this world and that we have come from dust and will return to dust. So where is the hope?!
For those of us who follow Jesus, Easter reminds us of the “Already” part of God’s Kingdom on earth. Jesus conquered death on the cross and was victorious over evil. But we also live in the “Not Yet” of a broken, sinful world. The Psalms are full of this same tension, the stress and helplessness of challenges being faced, yet confidence in God’s ultimate victory. They give space for both lament and hope, oscillating between despair and confidence in God’s sovereignty.
Lament is a practice that can help us work towards hope by surrendering to God all our troubled thoughts and emotions. Author Aubrey Sampson writes: “Lament creates a pathway between the Already and the Not Yet. Lament minds the gap between current hopelessness and coming hope. Lament anticipates new creation but also acknowledges the painful reality of now. What makes lament different from grief is a small but essential nuance. In lament, we direct our heartache to God—not to an unfeeling abyss, not to a void, but to God”. During this season of Lent, we can bring our despair as a lament to God as we feel the sorrows of our broken world, and yet wait expectantly in hope.
Psalm 27:1, 13 -14
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.