You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will God never show favor again? Has God’s unfailing love vanished forever? Has that promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has God in anger withheld compassion?” – Psalm 77:4-9 (NIV)
Sleepless nights are a part of this pandemic for me. I can float through the day exhausted by the simultaneous demands of full-time work and full-time parenting. And then when I lay my head down at night my mind is a swirl of worries over the future. What will happen to the church? What if my parents get sick? What if my daughter gets sick? What if men carrying guns show up to the next Black Lives Matter march I attend?
The things that keep me up at night are beyond my power to control. But the things that keep me up at night very much have the power to impact my life. It is reasonable to be afraid of this virus. It is reasonable to be afraid of extremists carrying guns. What is a Christian to do?
Lamenting to God over the state of the world is a part of the Christian faith. Crying out and feeling God has abandoned the world is a part of the Christian faith. Sleepless nights spent shouting at God to get off God’s shekinah and help us out down here is a part of the Christian faith.
These are hard days we are living in. You don’t need to put on a brave face. Not with God, anyway. Tonight, be as honest as you need to be with God in your prayers. God has heard worse.
God! Where are you?
John Edgerton is Lead Pastor at First United Church of Oak Park, Illinois.