How Long, Lord?
I got a phone call on Monday; the kind of phone call one never wants to receive. My friend, Tom, who plays drums for the worship band of which I am a part, lost his 8 -year-old son in an accident that morning. I felt like the breath flew out of my lungs. Disbelief. Anger. Unspeakable sadness. How could this be? I didn't want to believe it. I still don't. Aiden Patten's funeral is on Sunday.
During another time of unspeakable pain and tragedy, I am reminded of an article Keith Huey wrote in November after Jeremy's death reminding us of the apostle Paul’s response to suffering. This same question is presented over and over again in the Psalms, and it is not one that asks, “Why?,” but one that asks, “How long?” Read this heart wrenching text from Psalm 6:
“Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long? Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.”
Let us lament together, trusting that God can handle our hurt, anger, and deep sorrow. But let us also hope, trusting that God walks in the dark places with us, and that though we will never understand we put our faith in a God who does - a God who came down and suffered with us. Psalm 6 continues:
“Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.”
May we find the freedom to lament and the courage to hope.