Harder Family

Harder Family

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Update 2/17/24: Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy

Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Lamentations 3:21-24 “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’”

I don’t know if this is true for you, but I usually start to see a pattern or theme of what God is trying to teach me. On February 7th, my friend Sue sent me an email about a study they are doing at our old church in Chicago. It is a Bible study on Lamentations. Not only did it include a link for the study, it also had a links for podcasts of Revive Our Heart and a book called Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy. When I read that title, I realized another friend, Amy, had mentioned the book a few months ago. The theme of all these was lament. Back in April of 2023, I was briefly introduced to this topic when a friend gave me a book filled with laments. 

However, lament has taken a different feel in my life right now, given all that we are going through. I heard it said that lament is prayer in pain that leads to trust. Did you know that over 1/3 of the Psalms, which many of us turn to when life is difficult, are laments? If you include chapters with words of lament, over 1/2 of Psalms are lament. If so much of the Psalms are lament, how come we don’t practice very often? As I listened to the podcasts that Sue shared, there were a few things that stuck out. 

Here are a few highlights:

- the language of lament helps us process hard things and communicate with God.

- Lamentations shows us the effects of a broken world, but also how a godly person, in the midst of the broken world, still thinks Biblically and righteously.

- Lament is a way to express, “This is hard and life is broken, but God is still on His throne.”

- Lamentations 3:21 we see a pivot, a change of heart/focus. Jeremiah calls to mind truths about God and he applies it, even in a dark and dismal moment. As a result, there is hope that springs out of the truth of who God is. He rehearses truths about God’s character and His steadfast love. Even though the circumstances around him haven’t changed, there is a different perspective, a different attitude. 

- Lament is the song we sing in the land between “this is really hard” and God is really good. We won’t lament forever-all our sorrows will cease when Jesus comes. Meanwhile, in this in-between time, lament needs to be the language of God's people because life is filled with sorrows, Jesus is alive, and God is good.

- To cry and grieve is part of being human, but lament is to be the language of the believer.

As I said, there are some amazing truths in Lamentations and the study of lament. I look forward to allowing God the opportunity to grow me in this discipline of lament. I have quickly come to realize that lament is an under practiced discipline in the church. Maybe if we learned how to be transparent with God, we could be more real with one another? The world longs to see genuine faith in Christians and too often we fail. We need people who walk the talk and are real. I truly believe that practicing lament in our prayer life would help us achieve this in our lives. Life is hard! We need to be honest with God how that feels, but then pivot and rest and trust in His character. This is why it is essential that believes spend time in God's Word and study who He is. 

Update Wayne: Wayne is “stable”, which means he hasn’t improved, but he hasn’t gotten worse either. He is working hard on his speech therapy! He continues to amaze me with his perseverance under the difficult situations. 

Update Rebecca: I have officially finished 77% of my radiation!! Only 7 more days left. I cannot wait for this to be over.

Micaela has continued to excel in sign language and I’m proud of her. She came up with a plan for Abigail and was teaching her some key words and phrases. Abigail wanted to learn some sign language since she is helping with a special needs class we have at church. It’s moments like this that my mom heart just explodes with love and amazement at what God is doing in their lives.

On Friday, my dad had back surgery. We are praying this will solve his chronic back issues. I was able to drop him off and then visit him in between my radiation. Please pray for him that his pain eases and that this surgery does the trick.

Three of our kids are gone this weekend learning at Civil Air Patrol events. Shan and Micaela are learning some basic search and rescue skills here in Kentucky, and Sophia is staffing at winter Hawk in Pennsylvania. I don’t know how Sophia does it! It snowed a ton and is cold. They get first hand experience practicing search and rescue on cold environments. No thank you!

I spotted Sophia (black beanie in the back). She is staffing as part of the medical team.

Prayer Requests:

- Please just continue to pray for Wayne as he does his therapies and we trust God with the time we have left.

- Pray that my body continues to stay strong through treatments. This next Friday, I meet with my oncologist and will have another immunotherapy round. I believer we will schedule my pet scan to see if I will need more chemo.

- Please pray for Sophia in the freezing cold weather in PA and a safe trip home. Please also pray for Shan and Micaela as they come home tomorrow. Grace is still in Tennessee serving with Life Action-pray they stay well as a virus was circulating amongst the team this past week.

1 comment:

  1. You never cease to amaze me. Your faith is a testimony to the grace of God--even as you practice lament.