Isolation’s been really rough, but it’s also provided space which doesn’t normally exist in the hecticness of our everyday lives. Since the start of Stage 3 I’ve started to attempt to see this added time as a gift to be used well. I can choose to mourn that which can’t be done, or instead decide to make the most of these opportunities to pause and reflect, and reset to prepare for whatever comes next.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading through the Major Prophets – books of the Bible which I’ve always wanted to peruse but which never grabbed me as much as the fascinating tales in Kings or the guidance for life contained in Paul’s letters. However, as I’ve invested time in these books, I’ve noticed just how relevant they are for this current season.
The book I’ve valued the most in that section of scripture has been Lamentations. If you’ve got time, read through Chapter 3. It’s a real rollercoaster.
Jeremiah’s been through a lot when he writes this; his country’s been invaded by a foreign power because they’ve abandoned God, and he’s literally sitting at the bottom of a giant pit because the king hated his advice. And yet, even in this incredibly dark moment, he manages to find hope.
My two favourite passages from the chapter are these:
V 19-21: I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I will remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.
V 55-57: I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”
There have been times during lockdown when it’s been far easier to focus on what’s going poorly and my discomfort, especially when I’m surrounded by a whole world telling me that everything’s gone belly-up for them too. Yet when I read Jeremiah’s cry, it reminds me of the greatness of our God, the firm foundation we’re able to place our faith in and the one who gives us hope even in the midst of storms so big it can feel like there’s no way out.
If you’re doing it tough right now, cry out to God and cry out to the community he’s placed you in. He never closes his ears. He always listens and constantly provides peace and comfort and reassurance in the moments we need it most.