Kneeling, a Lament.

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

I sing a lament
of a nation divided
a strong man pulled down
right on down to his knees

But worse still and so infinitely
much more disturbing
is His much treasured family
chock full of the disease

For we spit and we sputter
with our tongues all unfurled
we devour and bite
we are just like the world

Oh, we cherish our freedom
grab on tight to our rights
leave behind the downtrodden
ignore all of their plights

Blessed are the peacemakers
Blessed too are the poor
Blessed are all who mourn
but don’t ask me to pay more

He told us we would suffer
but we run from the pain
He called this life temporary
but we build palaces in our name

We’ve refused to give grace
we’ve refused to shut up
when our feelings are pinched
we back up with a truck

Full of memes and blog postings
that we copy and paste
and we wound our dear brother
to our sister lay waste

And the enemy prowls
and the enemy seethes
and the enemy lies
and the enemy breathes

And we’ve stopped looking out
and we only look in
fighting fighting each other
he looks on with a grin

Oh your music is different
so much different than mine
and your interpretation
is not yet quite divine

Let me tell you the truth
that only me and mine know
and each “truth” with no love
wielding death with each blow

Oh our body it’s bleeding
can’t you see each sweet part
irreplaceable, magnificent
altogether, but apart

Because we’re losing this battle
each long day that goes by
we are self-amputating
can’t you hear His pained cry

Of My love they should learn
when they watch how you love
yet you’re ripping and tearing
as I still bleed up above

And the enemy laughs
my oh my does he scorn
for this day he has labored
since the day he was born

Oh dear Father forgive us
how we’ve trampled Your name
how we’ve scorned Your beloved
who don’t act quite the same

We’ve forgotten the words
and the warnings You gave
and we’re flying full tilt
once again to the grave

We are bleeding before You
ripped ourselves limb from limb
and if You don’t come to us swiftly
what comes next is quite grim

I sing this song of lament
from my knees, here’s my part
Yours alone to forgive
start with me, change my heart

God please knit us together
help us stand once again
side by side, hand in hand
turn our back to our sin

Help us forget what we want
look to You for our needs
open-handed, show the truth
for the truth the world pleads

Only You God are worthy
only You speak the truth
and the liar is strong
but he’s nothing like You

So we wait here together
we wait here on our knees
because we know You are faithful
and that You hear all our pleas

We Are Not Consumed.

Original Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash, edited by the Author

This morning I was sitting on the balcony with my daughter and my coffee. The sun was on my right side and a gentle breeze was blowing. Not many Turks get up as early as our daughter, so it was pretty quiet — enough to hear the birds chirping loudly from the tree about five feet away.

And as I sat there I thought — how can I have this moment of such peace in the midst of everything that’s going on? If I were to make you a brief and non-exhaustive list of the uncertainty and instability troubling me from all sides — COVID, race riots, watching loved ones duking it out on social media, waiting on a court date so we can finalize the adoption and finally take our daughter to meet her family and friends.

My heart is hurting for the pain and the suffering and the divisions breaking out in every direction. For the multiplication of lies and the inexplicable violence and the lack of visible peacemakers.

And yet. There I sat in a moment of such perfect peace it brought tears to my eyes.

My daughter likes to flip through my Bible, and as she was flipping I saw a verse I’d underlined in Lamentations years ago.

Because of His great love, we are not consumed.

Yes, the world has erupted once again in chaos and flames. And yes, some of us are taking our turn at the very hottest center of the fire. But we are not consumed.

Somehow, some way, with each new morning’s mercies He gives us what we need. To stand and face the sorrows of the day. To burn or watch those we love burn. To run toward the fires instead of away from them.

I think it’s in those little bubbles of peace like I experienced this morning, in moments of laughter and joy and light, that He shows some of His greatest love. When He says take a breather from worrying about the world and rest for a minute, smile, breathe, enjoy your coffee. I’ve got this.

Because of His great love, we don’t have to be consumed. What a world-altering, life-changing, hallelujah-shouting kind of truth.