Signed in as:
Signed in as:
Why we should Lament into the new year
I do not believe that 2020 was a particularly difficult year. I do not think we should be surprised by the blatant display of our brokenness.
Were you surprised by the events of 2020? We know racism is alive and well in the United States. We see it embedded in our political and justice frameworks. The events of 2020 simply opened the eyes of many of us who needed to be reminded that racism is most certenly not something only in our history books.
The human body is in a state of decay and brokenness due to sin. The coronavirus pandemic showed not only this but also our selfishness. It showed that we (and by we I am referring to the majority of the American people) are unwilling to sacrifice personal pleasures for the safety of the most vulnerable members of our community. This is also something that we know we tend to do. If we were truly looking out for the best interest of the most vulnerable people in our community, homelessness would be eradicated and people who are sick would have quick and easy access to quality health care.
So how do we make since of a year like 2020 without blaming the number we call the year? We can look on 2020 and lament. I am writing this (on January 7th) one day post the riot on capitol hill. Yesterday was also the most deadly day due to covid deaths since the pandemic began. We cannot fool ourselves into believing that we have 2020 to blame for the brokenness we are dealing with now.
I believe that we can frame the injustice and tragedy in lens of sin. We have sin to blame for the spreading of COVID. We have sin to blame for the persistent racism in the United States. We have sin to blame for leading us to violence. And this sin that we are dealing with in this present time is no different than the sin that Jerimiah lamented about in Lamentations 3.
I’m no biblical scholar, but I can offer you some advice on how to read Lamentations 3 in light of recent events.
The first 18 verses describe trials that Jerimiah has experienced. Verse one says “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the Lord’s wrath” He describes a series of very painful events that I believe could have been stopped by God, but for some reason God allows. He talks of being trapped and feeling a lot of pain. We know that God could have stopped covid in its tracks. We know that He is the God of science and for some reason, He allowed this past year to play out as it did. We know that God hates sin and we also know that He will do whatever it takes to reach the hearts of His people. We have to keep everything in this context. And that’s what Jerimiah does in verses 19-21. He says “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope” (V.21)
He goes on to talk about God’s unfailing love. He reminds himself of the promises God has made for His people. He says “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (v.22-23)
Here’s what he concludes this portion of the chapter with, “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” (v33) I am going to stop my commentary here, but I encourage you to read on through the end of the chapter.
Lamentation is right. It is right to look at the world and say “this is not right”. We must recognize that the world is not as it should be. Racism has not place in the Garden, yet it’s here on earth. We must actively call it out and examine our hearts. Sickness and death have no place in the Garden, yet they’re here on earth. We must care for the sick and do whatever it takes to promote healing. It is in the recognition that this is not what God intended for His perfect creation that our hearts are turned to Him. We then must realize that apart from the loving sacrifice of Christ, we would be doomed to an eternity of injustice and death. In our lamentation we are pointed back to the reality that this is what Christ died for. He died to rescue our hearts from the damnation that sin brought upon us.
Sin is clearly in 2021, just as it was in 2020. But so is God. His mercies are new EVERY morning. We have nothing to fear because His will is for our good. He does not delight in our afflictions. He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our hearts. He is making old things new every day. This is why we lament the sorrow and with hope filled eyes turn our gaze upon Jesus.