I got to church yesterday morning and realized I left my phone at home. Ugh. Minor panic. No phone? How do I do down time with no phone? How do I keep sermon notes, check my calendar and to do lists, show friends vacation photos or generally stay connected? Gah!? Three hours with no phone? And then I told my ridiculous self to get a grip and quit acting addicted. This is not a hardship.
The sermon this week was about the peace of God in the midst of hardship. You should listen to it. HERE. The pastor has faced some hardship. Arguments, finances, drama, cancer, funerals. Grief and questions.
The book of Lamentations is all about grief. The book consists of five poems detailing the horror and heartbreak of the fall of Jereusalem. Hunger and death and pain. Repentance and requests for compassion.
See, Lord, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious. Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death. Lamentations 1:20
Ever been there? Dead inside? Or tormented inside? I love that Lamentations contains brutal words. It shows God is okay with honesty. He doesn't mind questions or tears or pleas for help. I recognize myself on my worst days in these words. It's okay to grieve deeply.
Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at every street corner. Lamentations 2:19
When I'm wasting time online I run across stories which hurt. Teens growing up amidst violence. Children hungering for love and attention. Kids sold for pleasure. Refugees and war victims. What do I do? Click the little cry emoji and scroll past to look at photos of dessert. This will not do. Lamentations calls me to pray, to cry out, to pour out my heart to the presence of the Lord. For the lives of our children matter.
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40
I have been thinking about my reliance on my phone and wondered what life would look like if I relied on Jesus instead. If someone asked if I was available to help with a project perhaps a prayer checking in with the One who holds all time would be better than looking at my calendar. When I am worried about a friend, perhaps praying that God would be near to them is more useful than only sending a text. Instead of distracting myself from grief with lists and games and aps, pouring it out would be more healing. I'm examining my ways.
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. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him." Lamentations 3:22-24
Ah. Yes. The sermon this morning pointed to this truth. The love of God is greater than the power of evil. My worst days have been met by the ubundant grace of God. He will carry you too.
I called on your name, 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." Lamentations 3:55-57
A call to the Lord is healing. And I don't mean on a smart phone. Grief can lead to good. Cry out. He's listening.
One of the most loved hymns of all time comes straight from Lamentations. This accapala version is worth a watch.
You've got time to watch this today. See what you can learn from this installment of The Bible Project's Read Scripture series. I was fascinated by the structure of the five chapters, and the details pointed out by the team at The Bible Project. Check it out.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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