Connecting with Culture
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In the first pandemic wave many experienced loss in all sorts of ways. Now, after an emotionally draining six months, the second wave is here. Apart from the medical impact, we have more job losses, more uncertainty, a very real lack of fun, and the disappointing reality that this is going to go on for a long time. We are running out of steam. As Psalm 42 says, ‘all your waves and breakers have swept over me’. We need hope.
There is a strong parallel in all this with the ancient book of Job and his experience of loss and pain. Like Job we are discovering that we are not always entitled to health, wealth, and happiness; and like Job our suffering inexplicably goes on and on. Like the irritating moralising of Job’s comforters, the constant critique of the media only seems to make things worse. And, like Job, our minds are incapable of totally grasping the meaning of all this suffering. We need hope.
Job was deprived of everything, yet even in his despair he never lost his belief that God was there. Occasionally an indestructible hope burst forth like a ray of light in the darkness of his pain. ‘I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God’ (Job 19:26). But the truly transformative moment for Job came when, instead of seeing his situation in front of God, he finally saw God in front of his situation. Then, even in the intensity of his suffering, the greatness of the Almighty eclipsed the problem. That is the revelation we need.
In this sad and weary time lament is therapeutic, and we can be completely real with our Father in Heaven. Yet in our lament, the path to rekindling true hope lies in the possibility of focusing on the character and immensity of God. Greater is he that is in us than the pandemic that is in the world. Join in with the ancient words of Psalm 42: ‘Why are you downcast O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.’
Chair of the LICC Board