A “Lament” for 2020 by Tony Brackemyre
La•ment – a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.
Perhaps as you reflect on the closing of 2020, you do so with a sense of lament.
You may have a sense of grief as the year didn’t go as anyone planned (you may read that sentence as a rather large understatement!).
Maybe you are feeling sorrow as you look back at what could have been but wasn’t. Many have listed out all the events and programs that were cancelled, changed or modified so I don’t really need to go into that.
As you look at the whole of 2020 you might just say, “Blah!”
In the Old Testament book of Lamentations, we feel some similar emotions. The Babylonians had captured Jerusalem and left the nation of Israel devastated. God’s people had been disobedient to what He told them, and He had warned them that consequences would come if they didn’t repent. They didn’t, so God keep His word and allowed another earthly king to rule over them. As warned, the earthly king didn’t care for the well-being of the Israelites as God would have.
In Lamentation 1:8 the writer penned the words, “The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against his command…”
Because of their rebellion, their disobedience, their sin, Israel was in a time of lament and grief and sorrow. They were experiencing the consequences of their choices.
Perhaps as you read through the five chapters of this Old Testament book you can relate to the emotions expressed. While our year has been changed by a pandemic, some of the things God’s people experienced may hit home as you review your 2020.
Here are a few of the expressions from Lamentations.
“See, Lord, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed…” (Lamentations 1:20)
“My eyes fail from weeping; I am in torment within…” (Lamentations 2:11)
“I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.” (Lamentations 3:17)
God’s people were in a time of lament. The circumstances of their lives left them feeling discouraged, disappointed and in despair.
For many people, those words apply pretty well to 2020 . . .
. . . discouraged
. . . disappointed
. . . in despair
We do, however, hear some good news. While the book of Lamentations is filled with sadness, there is hope. There is a bright spot in the middle of all the darkness.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
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.”
Even in the middle of a lament, the author finds comfort in the love of God.
While he felt forgotten and deprived, he still pointed to the faithfulness of God.
What a great reminder for us as we close the books on 2020. Whatever emotions you experience as you reflect on the past 12 months, we can echo the words of the writer of Lamentations and know God’s compassions never fail. We can find hope in the truth that the Father’s faithfulness is great.
There is a good prayer for us as we prepare to launch a new year. Lamentations 3:24:
“I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The word ‘portion’ is connected to the idea of an inheritance. One author described it this way – “The Lord is the portion of his people in life and in death, in time and to eternity; all he is, and has, is theirs; they are heirs of him, and shall enjoy him forever.” (New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible)
We are reminded that despite the circumstances that surround us, the faithfulness of God does not change. Even in despair and discouragement, He is faithful to keep His promises and we can trust that we are His people in life, in death, in time and to eternity. If we are in relationship with Jesus, we are His heirs.
As you celebrate the New Year may this lament remind you of the love, compassion and faithfulness of God. May the prayer of verse 24 lead you into 2021 and beyond. Might we find hope and peace in the fact that He is our portion and so we can wait on Him.
Happy New Year!