Lamentations 5:20-22, Revelation 7:16-17
Tim Lucas reflects on suffering.
'Why do you always forget us?
Why do you forsake us so long?
Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return;
renew our days as of old
unless you have utterly rejected us
and are angry with us beyond measure.'
This can certainly be a very uncomfortable passage of scripture to read. It is obviously full of pain and heartache and deep resonant questions about God. For much of this we must read it through the lens of Christ, who told us that He would never leave us or forsake us; that we are invited and welcomed in to life with Him and that He loves us deeply.
Keeping that in mind, there is still something very important to say about this passage of scripture.
Sometimes sad and terrible things happen in life that we are completely unprepared for, which shake us to our very core. It might be the loss of a loved one, suffering through an illness, being a victim of abuse, or a number of other things that bring with them a great deal of pain and heartache.
While some people might come through those things and gain a sense of completeness again, many people struggle for the rest of their lives with issues arising as a result. For many people, it seems like there is no answer and no end to their struggles.
I believe prayer works and I believe in the healing power of Jesus, but I also know that sometimes we don't receive that healing in this life. I don't know why. All I know is that there is not a prescribed, 'this always works' way.
When you're struggling, reading Lamentations can help. It is raw and painful and honest about the human struggle. Lamentations reminds us that it is ok to be upset and sorrowful about things that happen in our life. It also reminds us that it's ok when we don't resolve those things.
Sometimes as Christians we fall into the trap of telling everybody that we have to be happy and triumphant and loud and smiling all of the time, but Lamentations shows us that there is a place in our relationship with God for unresolved sorrow in this life.
If you have been through the thick of it, know that God understands and doesn't expect you to deny all of your emotion as though nothing happened.
Please know that the Bible is full of tears, full of sorrow and full of lament. It is full of heartache and difficulty. It is full of loss and misery.
But we are reminded of one thing, though in this life we may not always find a resolution to our lament and our issues and though pain can last a long time, Revelation 7:16-17 tells us that in the end, when this world fades away and the new one comes, God will bring us the resolution we so desperately need.
Until then, while waiting for our healing in this life, or the next, we believe that Christ walks with us in our suffering. I hope that can bring you comfort.
'Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the centre of the throne
will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'
Church Liaison Officer
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