December 31, 2021

Looking Back in Lament

Crown College professor Karen Gustafson profoundly captures the pain and loss we all experienced in the wake of 2021’s hardships and adversities.


It’s been so long, Lord

         Since we’ve gathered

         To rejoice, to sing, to share, to commune

It’s been so long, Lord

         Since we’ve seen and felt

         The smiles, the hugs, the laughter

When we think we’re finally through the rough spot

         Another piece of news drives us back to longing

For relief, for stability, for company

How much more loss must there be, Lord?

         We’ve lost family and friends

         We’ve lost jobs and homes

         We’ve lost health and activities

Lord, do you see we’re running on empty?

         We’ve spent it all on juggling kids, school, work, and our own lives

         We’re out of ideas to connect with people and don’t even know if they are there

         We pour out much more than our container even holds

Do you see us, Lord?

         Those of us isolated behind the windows and computer screens?

         Or we who live in areas of the world where the resources never even arrive?

Do you see us, Lord?

         Who carry deep wounds that others refuse to acknowledge?

         Or we who carry the sharp criticisms of those we try to serve?

It’s been so long, Lord.

         We’ve come so far into grief and pain.

         We’ve watched as families split into factions

         And followers of Christ lose the Way

It’s been so long, Lord.

         But you never tire to come close to the broken-hearted.

         You carry our pain and walk beside

We want to go back to normal

         But you want to move us forward

We want to control and fix what’s wrong

         But you want to take what’s real and give it new meaning

We want to erase all the difficulties

         But you want to shine through each one

It’s been so long, Lord

         But give us eyes to see the long view like you do

         Eyes that see this is not the end of the story

         We groan now in this earthly tent but one day all will be restored

It’s been so long, Lord

         That you have known us and loved us from the beginning

It’s been so long, Lord    

That the incomparable riches of your grace have been poured out on us

And so, Lord

         We long for you to revive our hope and confidence in you

         We long to be renewed in purpose and passion

         We long for you to refine us so we may walk the entire path with you and alongside
those most in need

Give us a long view, Lord

         To see that what lasts forever are people made in God’s image

A long view

To know that right now we see only in part, but we will see face to face

A long view

To live in those three things that remain: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love

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