The Weekly Word: Lament the loss
By Robert Williams, Lead Pastor at The Bridge Church
I don’t think there is a single person on this planet that hasn’t been completely thrown for a complete loop these last few weeks.
I remember a couple of weeks ago, sitting in a staff meeting. I don’t keep up with the news as well as Pastor Joe or even my wife, Stephanie, so Joe was updating me on this virus situation that was going on overseas.
It had just begun to take over global news and started to sneak into the Midwest. I even had a friend whose mother was on the Egyptian cruise near California.
Our assistant pastor asked if I thought we should talk about it a little bit on Sunday, but I didn’t think it was necessary at that time. That was a Tuesday.
By the time Saturday rolled around and I was preparing for my message, all of that had changed. So, I made it a joke on Sunday morning to talk about it in a light-hearted way. We showed a video from a comedian on the topic of hand sanitizer and assured all of our people that we were paying attention.
The following Monday I left for Oklahoma to visit one of our denominational colleges for a seminar and that’s when things began to progress at such a rapid pace.
That trip started with the president of the college making jokes about the world coming to end and ended with me and a few other pastor friends in disbelief on our way back to Iowa over the fact that we may not have Easter services this year.
Romans 5, verse 5 says that, “…hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
And our church plans to cling to that hope.
But then I also don’t want us to rush the mourning process. To mourn is to grieve the loss of anything or anyone. And it’s no secret that people are experiencing loss across the globe. We’ve lost community, jobs, income, and some have even tragically lost loved ones or their own lives.
I love what the band Rend Collective said about this. They said, “Social distancing is good for our health and the health of others. We believe in it and support it. But it’s not really good for our souls.”
It’s important to mourn the losses. If you’re not hurting right now, I’d to encourage you to care for those that are hurting.
Someone once said that empathy is getting down in a hole with someone who is experiencing loss or depression, anxiety or pain. Don’t stay in the hole, but do all you can to be present and feel with those that are.
In Matthew, Jesus is recorded saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
King David exemplified what this looked like long before Jesus came to the earth when he wrote in Psalm 102:
Hear my prayer, O LORD! And let my cry for help come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; incline Your ear to me; in the day when I call answer me quickly.”
God made us emotional beings for a reason. God gave us the entire range of emotions that we might experience life and pain, happiness and sorrow, in ways that the rest of creation cannot experience or fully understand. That’s what sets humanity apart.
Translation: it’s OK to feel the loss. It’s OK to cry out to God in a time like this just like David did all throughout Scripture. Give yourself permission to be sad and mourn. Give yourself permission to feel this situation for a bit. Give it over to God and do what you can to lament the loss.