By: Heather Wolper
Tuesday, was my 40th birthday. I woke hopeful and excited anticipating the day ahead.
My husband was expecting a job offer after almost 19 long months of unemployment. I kept thinking about how funny it was that God had waited so long to provide a job for our family only to provide it on my birthday.
The day began as I’d hoped with breakfast with a dear friend and cards from many special people in my life. I was excited about the surprise date my husband had planned and hoped to celebrate both my birthday and the end of a long hard season in our family.
But as the day wore on, we still hadn’t had a job offer and our son who had come down with strep throat 48 hours prior was getting worse and not better. By the evening we were beginning to wonder why we hadn’t heard anything about the job and it was clear that we were going to have to cancel our date.
I managed to keep my chin up. I told myself that we’d surely hear back about the job the next day and we could go out to celebrate as soon as our son felt better.
But, as Wednesday rolled on with no offer and Thursday came with no offer that old familiar friend of disappointment came knocking on my door once again.
Despite my best efforts to not get my hopes up, I had imagined my husband and I at a candlelit table at my very favorite restaurant celebrating another decade and a new job.
How many times have I been here, holding my breath, trying hard not to get my hopes wrapped around my circumstances only to have them come crashing down around me?
It has been a year of unmet expectations. A year of making plans only to watch them unravel like a ball of tattered yarn. A year of disappointment. A year of lament. A year of clinging to faith by fingernails.
So here I am sitting curled up on the hardwood floor heartbroken and wondering how to pick myself up and keep going once again.
When the first waves of discouragement came, folks told me I just needed to choose to trust the Lord. I wondered if my battle with despair was evidence that my faith wasn’t strong enough. But, I have realized that trusting God doesn’t mean an absence of unpleasant emotions or being impervious to despair. It means coming to him over and over, honestly crying out before him and worshipping him through my pain.
He wants me here as I am curled up on the hardwood floor weeping for this awful, hard time in our family to be over. He wants all of me with nothing held back. For even Jesus cried out from the cross in his heartbreak,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46
So today, I will lament. I will cry and wail and shake my fist up at heaven
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?”
Through my tears, I will beg him to help me experience his presence in the midst of waist deep disappointment.
In my exhaustion, I will claim that he is sovereign and righteous and good even when life is hard and painful.
In my despair, I will remember all the ways he has carried us through this long hard season and I will choose to trust him with a weary heart and tears streaming down my face.
Dear friend, if you are knee deep in a hard season of lament, I pray that you would find comfort today, that God would be the lifter of your head and your source of hope as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death.