“God has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; 8 though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer; 9 he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked.” (Lamentations 3:7-9)
O Dear God, I pray today for those battling depression. The stew of discouragement is made of so many ingredients that it’s hard to tell what should be tackled first – and every “breaking news” item just makes the pot more toxic. A cup of COVID, an overdose of lying campaign ads from both parties, a heaping tablespoon of cold damp weather, incessant robocalls, all stirred into a gallon of fatigue from zoom calls and home schooling. We feel like we’re swimming in an ocean of molasses against a deadly rip tide. There’s no lifeguard in sight, and our arms are too weary to carry on much longer.
Dear God of past, present and future, do you hear our lament? Where are you in the midst of our suffering? We beg for relief and a restoration of the life we used to know. Throw us a lifeline of hope before we drown.
Yes, we confess we have contributed to the mess we’re in. We have not taken every precaution we could against the virus. It’s much easier to point the finger of blame at others. We have added a brick here and there to the great wall of polarization that divides neighbors and family and poisons friendships.
And yes we know you rescued the Hebrew people from much worse calamities, but that was so long ago. We are living a nightmare right now in real time that doesn’t even feel like real time! We feel like the people of Israel mourning the destruction of the holy city of Jerusalem, like the victims of never ending wildfires combing through the ashes of their former lives. We feel like the people of Louisiana bracing for yet another hurricane before they can clean up from the last one! O God hear your people praying. Amen
p.s. Just a reminder that the book of Lamentations was written after the destruction of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon who began a siege of Jerusalem in December 589 BC. During this siege, the duration of which was either 18 or 30 months the Bible describes the city as enduring horrible deprivation. The laments were certainly justified, but they did not destroy the faith honed in the fires of other wilderness times for God’s people. How do we know that? Because just 12 verses later the author says,
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:21-24
May it be so for us 2600 years later in the siege of 2020!