The prayer of lament is a familiar prayer for many of us in 2020. I don’t know about you, but I’ve asked God many times, “What is happening?” I need not remind you of the number of changes (and losses) we have endured in the last year alone. Like you, I have been praying for answers. I want to know the purpose of the challenges I have faced. Romans 8:18-21(NIV) seems to answer my question, “Seriously God, What Gives?”
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
I believe God is refining us into flawless children of God. The fire of trial is burning away the dross.
In California, after months of fires and choking smoke, I’m more grateful for blue skies and fresh air. I won’t take advantage of a beautiful day as I may have before the (literal) fires. I have a greater compassion for those who lost homes, gasped for air through acrid smoke, or must now rebuild their lives. Today, I consider the household needs of a fire victim first as I declutter my home from things I no longer use.
A recent trip to the emergency room taught me more patience (still working on that one!) and now I’m even more grateful for health insurance (a privilege I will fight for with my vote.) Although it took me two weeks to recover, I did not have COVID-19. Yet, over two hundred thousand people have died in our country from this pandemic. My brief illness and ER visit gave me more compassion for those who suffer in hospitals without their loved ones near them.
I honor previous leaders of our country who have taken us to greater heights, lifted us in hope, and showed leadership deserving of respect. I treasure presidents who inspired Americans to care for the stranger and the poor—not just the elite and the rich. Today I value my vote to restore that kind of leadership. I trust God to move our country out of darkness and into the light of glory as I wait in eager expectation for the true children of God to be revealed.
God never said it would be easy. In fact, Scripture teaches that in this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) The next time you offer a prayer of lament—turn it into a prayer of thanksgiving. Know that God is liberating you from the bondage of decay and bringing you into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Our present suffering is not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed.
Stay strong—God is with you and for you—and so am I.