A few years ago, the PCA Women’s Ministry hosted the One Conference in several cities around the country. I attended many of them, all but one in fact. My favorite moment was experiencing the beauty of a multi-ethnic choir at a Mississippi church singing “Heal Us Emmanuel.” It was a beautiful moment that I will never forget.
The theme of the conference came from John 17:21, “that they all may be one.” Those words of oneness ring in my head now as brazen acts of violence in rapid succession exasperate racial tensions in our nation. In particular, I am deeply disturbed over the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, two African American males senselessly slain in broad daylight. The haunting images of the evil portrayed against these men plague my thoughts and are on constant repeat in my mind, mocking my heart’s cry for oneness. I will confess to you that I am often tempted to look away as I honestly don’t know how much more I can witness and continue to move towards hope. The biggest lesson I am learning in this season is the power of lament as a vehicle to hope.
Lament as Movement Towards Hope
Following the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, I did what I have learned to do way too well – I compartmentalized. I conveniently tucked feelings away so that I could accomplish the task before me and complete the work day. When I finally made it home, I watched the video that was cycling through the news, and I was undone. I couldn’t sleep. I poured out an assortment of complex feelings before the Lord and just wept. Every time I thought about it, I wept. I realized that day that lament is costly and disruptive. It disrupted my plans and made space for emotions I didn’t care to feel. It ultimately pushed me to the throne of the only Help I know. That Help is our only hope; His name is Jesus…