Apr 24 2022 Lament with Hope

As I was talking with Pastor Mike about his messages on Lamentations – it seems like something strange to talk about after Easter and the resurrection – it seems like we should just have glorious lives after that, but life is so much deeper than that – and Lamentations are part of everything.

Death is a natural place to grieve. Our family has experienced our share of grief over death – even those of children.

But death goes beyond physical death – there are so many other types of death – death of hopes and dreams, etc.

All the methods for dealing with grief apply. Learning to deal with these also involves comfort from our heavenly father – He loves us unconditionally in the midst of our fear, apathy and discouragement.

Recently, our family has experienced many relational deaths,

I’m reading a book that has directed me to the heart of the father – and the author points us to a certain scripture – Psalm 34:18 – the Lord is close to the brokenhearted – He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Encourage those who have experienced grief to run, not walk, to the arms of the Father – it is only in His arms that we can experience healing from grief, in a loving and healthy way.

Sue Cooper: I don’t know if you’ve noticed this – for the past couple years, no one has talked about New Years’ Resolutions – maybe in a pandemic, you are more interested in how you look in a Zoom call.

I’ve decided to do some self-reflection – I realized I don’t have the talent or skills – so I stopped thinking about my life for a time.

I was reading through the gospels – the red letters – the words of Jesus – and I came across Mark 8 – 2-3 – he wanted to care for the people – and the disciples said – We can’t - it is not possible.

Jesus asked – how many loaves do you have – when I read it, I heard, what DO you have? I felt He was speaking to me. Usually, I read it as Jesus organizing everything – but it is more than that.

When Jesus expresses His will – that this is what He wants to do to care for His people… If I give my 10% and He gives the 90% - maybe that will be enough! I don’t feel comfortable stepping out like that! I love how God gives us metaphors – Take my yoke upon you and learn from me – my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Everything I know about yoking and oxen I learned from Farmer Boy and Hale Farms!

That is not much – so I did some research.

In the Old Testament – a yoke was used as ‘servitude, slavery – punishment’ – But Jesus used it differently – take MY yoke – not a yoke – which tells me that He is the other half of the yoke!

You don’t try to train a 1300–3000-pound Ox when it is full-grown. You have to start when the oxen are young. They train with positive reinforcement – petting, brushing, and even rest. They are trained to the driver’s voice – not physical manipulation – like a whip or stick – but a voice. They listen to the driver’s voice – it is said – the driver becomes the reward itself – His presence brings them good!

When there is a yoke of oxen – and there is a new ox – they put the experienced ox next to the driver and the inexperienced one on the other side. The trained one knows the driver’s voice – and the other one follows.

This is amazing to me – in that THIS is what He tells us to do – to be trained to His voice. We will be able to hear Him better the more we walk, listen – the more we are willing.

A yoke of oxen can pull up to 2x their weight – they multiply their usefulness, strength, and ability.

If you ever feel, like me, that you are lacking, ineffective, and there is too much you cannot do – He is asking for what you do have and to draw near Him and listen and he will speak! The driver speaks – He doesn’t expect the ox to know – and in doing that – He will multiply your usefulness!

MM: Good morning! I am recording this on Wednesday morning – we are out of town for Jon and Danielle Marshall’s wedding!

I did not quite finish up the series on Lament – so I wanted to go back briefly -
Psalm 42 – as the deer pants for the streams of water – so my soul

There is a song based on this verse –

Maybe due to neglect or being too busy – I might not get the time that I need – I think – when can I spend time with God? That is a legitimate hope – and this song leads in this direction – but if you read the psalm completely – the psalmist gives us a different vibe – it is a lament!

My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and [e]lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.

He has not been neglecting God, but seeking God day and night and the psalmist is experiencing the feeling that God has abandoned him! It can feel that way for us, too.

Jesus, on the cross – My God, My God, why have you forsaken or abandoned me?

This psalm invites us to express our feelings of abandonment.

The psalmist is working through it:

5 Why are you [f]in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?

Why is this happening?

[g]Hope in God, for I shall [h]again praise [i]Him
For the [j]help of His presence.

He allows himself to feel the depth of his despair – but that allows him to see the answer. If he neglects the darkness of his soul, he will never come to the way out. He is not ready – He still has work to do before hope can take hold – and that work is not finished.

This soul talk, turns into God talk:
6 O my God, my soul is [k]in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the [l]peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

He remembers God – He knows He is good – and it goes back and forth – you get pulled back:

7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.

So right as he gets this glimmer of hope…, it all collapses in on him again, and it feels like God is the one doing it!

Then the process continues:
8 The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.

SO now we see this hope coming in – He is claiming promises and believing – and the prayer continues:

9 I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning [m]because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

So, this goes back and forth – this battle for hope and grief. Faith rises up when we acknowledge the reality of our current situation. Faith never grows out of faking it.

Faith can come out of the darkness of our grief when we acknowledge it to ourselves and to God

11 Why are you [n]in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?

We know, soul, why we are in despair…

[o]Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,

He knows that hope will come someday. And here is the thing – Hope comes in our current circumstance – Hope can come long before the grief is gone. God wants us to learn to hope and grieve at the same time.

1 Thess 4:13

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep [k]in Jesus.

Our grief is a grief of hope.

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