Weeping and Remembering
Our Lord is not distant. He hears our cry and sorrow. He cares for us as our suffering shepherd.
“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion” (Psalm 137:1)
The days following January 6, 2021 brought visits, emails, and phone calls from friends participating in various forms of weeping. They shared their shock and sorrow for our nation’s Capitol and the horrific transgression by an angry mob incited by the president. The image of protesters forcing their way through broken windows and compromised doors as they filled those sacred hallways was beyond belief.
Many of these friends had worked in those offices. For years I met in Senate hideaways with staffers who gathered for prayer and Bible study. It is a beautiful building of magnificent architecture and history. As one who loves such subjects, I counted the years there a privilege. I never dreamed that citizens of the United States of America would willfully desecrate the People’s House. Yet, they did.
The psalmist takes us back to a time in Israel’s history when its capital was not just desecrated but destroyed. Many of its residents were forcibly taken to Babylon where they would live out their existence in service to a despised, godless king. Their captors demanded songs, but only heard the sound of weeping.
For the past ten months the world has been in a constant state of lament. As a nation we have lamented the threat of health and life, racial injustice, economic hardships, unemployment, and loss of personal freedoms while quarantined due to a global pandemic. It is all so depressing. As a Christian, I must ask what my Lord is doing in such times as these? How shall I view life and the world in which I live?
Weeping is important.
As a pastor there have been many times when I found myself in the midst of friends who have experienced loss, sickness, death, failure, and offenses from others. These occasions not only shock the soul, but leave one wounded and scared. In some cases, it will take a lifetime to recover. Being in touch with the pain, loss, hurt, and devastation is important if there is to ever be healing. It must be fully owned.
It is also important to connect with the pain of others. This is what the Apostle Paul refers to in Romans 12:15 regarding the need for the church to be an agent of comfort. The same is accented in 2 Corinthians 1 where Paul reminds the church that the comfort they have received from the Lord equips them to minister mercy to those in pain.
Finally, we must remember our Lord is not distant. He hears our cry and sorrow. He cares for us as our suffering shepherd. He knows well our pain because he has suffered for us. Our Lord is not callous when it comes to our pain and sorrow.
When Jesus saw Martha weeping along with the Jews who had come with her, “he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” As the shortest verse in the Bible attests, Jesus actually joined in their weeping. It is important that we do not mourn and lament alone.
Our Lord is always present to help in times of trouble. The gospel informs us of this necessary truth. As we mourn and weep may we experience our Lord’s grace and comfort.
Chuck Garriott is the Executive Director and founder of Ministry to State.