About the author: Kelly Kaiser is the Child Sponsorship Director for Otino Waa Children's Village in Lira, Uganda. She also helps host teams visiting Otino Waa, including our team from ZPC, whose July 2020 trip has been postponed due to COVID-19. Originally from Indiana, Kelly moved to Uganda in 2018; she is hunkered down there now, while the country lives under strict travel restrictions, curfews, and social unrest.
Today’s Scripture: Psalm 13
When I was first asked to write a devotional, I thought, “Oh yes, I will write about hope!” I love talking about hope. Having hope in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit is the only way we Christians can make it in a broken world. However, the events happening in America and the problems happening in Uganda call for lament.
We live in a broken world. This truth is not new. Humans made it three whole chapters into the Bible before the fall, before breaking a promise to God. The realities of living in a broken world never really escape us. I don’t know about you, but I wish they would. I am an idealist and an optimist, so reflecting on the brokenness of this world doesn’t come easy for me and makes me extremely uncomfortable. The practice of lament is new to me, but over the last year it is has become a lifeline to faith.
“Lamentation is a powerful, and meaningful, form of worship because it places our love for God above even the worst of circumstances in our life… God does not ask us to deny the existence of our suffering. He does want us to collect it, stand in those things and make Him an offering. The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, helps us to do this: He aligns Himself with our will and says, 'I will help you to will to worship God.' The glory of the majesty of God is that He helps us will and do.” - Graham Cooke
Lament is not complaining, it is not giving into pain, or denying that God works all things for His good. Lament is pouring out our personal and collective loss to God. Lament is a recognition that we live in a broken world that desperately needs God.
Today, I lament. I lament for the hungry and struggling here in Uganda. I lament for the children and families of Otino Waa Children’s Village who are in difficult situations. I lament for the lives of George Floyd, Ahmed Aubrey, and Breonna Taylor. I lament for the city of Indianapolis, a place I have called home for many years. I lament for the poverty and loss caused around the world by the Coronavirus.
My laments are not in vain. I cry out to God in pain, and I am filled with a supernatural hope and comfort. I am reminded that lament is not the end.
I truly believe that lament must happen before reconciliation. We have to acknowledge and pour out the pain, injustices, and sin of this world before we can truly receive hope and reconciliation. It took me some time to learn that lamenting is not complaining or denying that God is here. Rather, by lamenting I am clinging to God and I am drawing closer to God.
David is one of my favorite people in the Bible because of his emotions. David gets angry, he gets sad, he laments, he fails, he doubts, and he fully loves and depends on God. David is called a man after God’s own heart. For that, I am very thankful because when I have all the emotions like David, I too can be after God’s own heart. In Psalm 13, David is asking God how long he will be forgotten. He is lamenting his situation and asking God, “Where are you? Look on me and answer.” David ends Chapter 13 with a prayer and reminder for all of us:
“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me” Psalms 13: 5-6
We cry out to you. Lord, Father, we pour out our pains, our struggles, and our fears. We grieve for this world, God. We long to see the work of your hands. We cling to you. We hold on to the hope that you give us. As we pour out to you, we ask that you pour into us, Lord. Fill us with your Spirit, peace, and comfort, so that we may love those in our lives as you love us. In the powerful name of Jesus we pray.