A lament in isolation

Lamentations opens with a verse that seems very timely as we stay at home, leaving our normally busy town and city centres deserted.

How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave.

Under the old covenant, God’s people’s disobedience would result in a curse – the exile that this verse was written during was one such punishment for the people’s unfaithfulness. I’m not going to link our current problems to one particular disobedience of our (or any other) nation. Partly, because I’m not a prophet and it’s far too easy to assign our own priorities to God’s will, but also because Jesus rejects a simplistic understanding of blame when asked whose sin was the cause of a man’s blindness (John 9:2-3)

We can learn from Lamentations, though.

Firstly, it’s okay to spend some time feeling sad. It’s good to spend some time reflecting on our sins and apologising to God for them. It’s normal to have ‘negative’ feelings, to feel and express grief and sorrow.

Secondly, though, in your sorrow, God is still there with hope, love, and compassion. Right in the middle of Lamentations (3:22-26) is a reminder that “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end”, (3:22) and that “the LORD is good to those who wait for him” (3:25). We don’t even have to sit it out to the happy end God has promised to receive some comfort.