Brutal. Awful. Unspeakable. The tragedy in Manchester has broken our hearts. Seeing photos of the far too young victims, seeing 13-year-old girls with shrapnel in their arms and legs, seeing the faces of the families as they raced out of the concert in chaos and fear – it’s more than the heart can bear. As I have written to friends in the U.K., my heart has been heavy with sadness and solidarity.
The reality is, there are times in our lives when lament is the only possible response. Far too often, the Christian faith is portrayed as a series of “ups” and smiley face emojis. But Scripture is full of lament and grief – from the prophets to the Psalms to the Book of Lamentations. I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears, cries David (Psalm 6). “My tears have been my food day and night.” (Psalm 42). Bitter weeping, young girls and boys grieving, lives shaken beyond understanding – these images are all too relevant not only in ancient Jerusalem, but in Manchester and our inner cities and Syria and Afghanistan and… and… and.
And so, we cry out in lament and we weep with those who weep and we wonder how and why and when it will all end. And the main difference between us and others is that as believers we hold onto hope even as we lament. We hold onto the hope only God can give. I turned to Psalm 85 when this tragedy happened – and I am still holding onto these hope-filled promises:
I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants….
Love and faithfulness (will) meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
What the Lord has promised will be fulfilled. Someday love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. In the meantime, we hope and pray and work for peace – day by day by day.
In His sure grip,