A Time to Mourn

A Time to Mourn

Monday morning my heart was aching.

WHY Lord? When will peace rule? My heart still aches!

I clicked open my audible app and listened to the book of Habakkuk while getting ready for work—all the while painfully aware of the privilege and safety of my own life in contrast to the turmoil others are currently facing.

Habakkuk, a book of only three chapters, seemed appropriate in light of the events taking place around the world—those near in Haiti, where gangs have taken cities hostage, and those far in Ukraine and those facing the most recent crisis unfolding between Israel and Hamas.

Like Habakkuk, I asked,

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not listen? (Hab 1:2)

I devoted Tuesday, my day off, to mourning!

I needed to feel the pain. I needed to lift up those suffering in the aftermath of the Hamas attack in prayer.

I wanted to be there to look into their faces – not just those on the news channels. I wanted to embrace the aching parents, hold tightly the hands of the suffering, sit with those in the last moments of life, to carry their pain.

I prayed God’s mercy, grace, and protection would flow in some tangible way upon them. If I could hear their cries for mercy from thousands of miles away, I believed God would hear their cry!

So I opened my Google Maps. I slowly and virtually traversed from the north to the south, the area called Gaza, the West Bank, and the Middle East. I enlarged the images of cities, towns, villages and other places on my phone. I discovered many photos posted by others.

I especially focused upon the photos of medical teams training at hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank– men and women committed to caring for the sick and injured with limited resources exasperated now by the recent threat of war.

And I mourned!

I like what this commentator says about Habakkuk: 1

“Habakkuk insisted upon confronting his God face to face and asking God the hard questions of life. He was not satisfied until answers came and dialog ensued. Only when he had wrestled in conversation with God and created a faith understanding of his own did he present a message to the public. What a message!”

I’ve asked many hard questions throughout my life. I’m frequently reminded of the faithfulness of others who remained steadfast in their faith in the midst of horrendous situations throughout history. Those bold believers continually inspire me to remain faithful.

But it is Habakkuk’s somber and inspired remarks that give me the tenacity to trust, to live rightly, and to live faithfully in my life whatever comes my way.

 “Though the fig tree does not blossom, 
and no fruit is on the vines; 
though the produce of the olive fails
 and the fields yield no food; 
though the flock is cut off from the fold
 and there is no herd in the stalls, 
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
 I will exult in the God of my salvation. 
Habakkuk 3:17-18
  1. Kenneth L. Barker, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (vol. 20; The New American Commentary; Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 254.

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