Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy
Like many of you, I read the news yesterday that Governor Greg Abbott extended social distancing guidelines through April 30 and announced schools will remain closed until May 4 (and may be extended at a later date). And grief entered my heart for a number of reasons:
People will continue to get sick and pass away.
Medical staff will continue to work extra hard and sacrifice a lot.
We won’t be at church for a little while longer.
I love having three young kids at home. It’s amazing and fun, but it’s also exhausting and crazy.
I miss my friends. I miss eating with my friends, balling with my friends and simply being with my friends.
My children miss their friends too.
Working from home isn’t ideal. The boundaries of work and family have been stripped away. For me, it’s been difficult to set boundaries.
My wife is doing an amazing job teaching the kids at home, but home schooling is stressful.
Events and activities are up in the air. We don’t know what’s going to happen with graduations, summer mission trips, weddings, etc.
Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy
The list of things that cause my heart to grieve can go on and on, but the Lord led me to a Christian book over my sabbatical called Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, by Mark Vroegop. The book taught me two things: (1) how to lament well and (2) what to do when grief enters my heart. Here are some of my favorite excerpts. I hope and pray that this brings you encouragement whenever you’re going through hard times.
“Learning to lament began on my knees. No, Lord! I pleaded. Please not this! It was 2004, and my wife, Sarah, awakened me…”
“…biblical lament was new for me.”
“I battled fears, disappointments, and sorrow. And in my journey, I discovered the grace of lament, a song I never wanted to sing.”
“Lament helped us navigate the wilderness of our grief”
“I came to see lament as a helpful gift from the Lord. Through this journey, I came to love Psalm 13.”
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, 'I have prevailed over him,' lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. (vv. 1–6)”
“To lament is Christian”
”Lament is how you live between the poles of a hard life and trusting in God’s sovereignty.”
“Lament is how we bring our sorrow to God.”
“Without lament, we won’t know how to process pain.”
“Without lament, we won’t know how to help people walking through sorrow.”
“Lament is how Christians grieve”
“Lament is how we learn important truths about God and our world.”
“Belief in God’s mercy, redemption, and sovereignty creates lament.”
“Without hope in God’s deliverance and the conviction that he is all-powerful, there would be no reason to lament when pain invaded our lives.”
Christians are people of good news
Even though you and I might have grief in our hearts, I want to remind you: Christians are people of good news. Christians know Jesus, and Jesus is kind, compassionate, all-powerful, gracious, loving and sovereign. We find hope, healing and comfort in Him alone. May we run to Him in times of grief. May we lament well.