Metro Young Adults: A Night of Hopeful Lament
A Long Dark Night
There have been times in my life where I just couldn’t see anyway forward. The circumstances confronting me were so overwhelming, so painful, so dark, that I didn’t know where to take my next step. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure I would be able to even get to my feet.
The loss of a child.
The failing of my body.
The fracturing of friendships.
It’s been helpful for me to think of these times as long dark nights. I can’t see any light. I can’t see my own hands in front of me let alone others and God. I feel abandoned, lost, confused, angry and sad. My faith is challenged.
Have you ever found yourself stumbling in the dark night?
Weep with Those Who Weep
I believe that for many, these past months throughout this pandemic, have been a long dark night. I recently read that one year ago 1 in 12 American adults reported symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Today it’s more than 1 in 3.
This may be your experience. And it may not.
Metro Young Adults will be gathering together this month on August 25th for the first time in six months. As leaders, when we talk about what’s to come, we couldn’t be more excited. We have a vision to make, mature and mobilize disciples of Jesus amongst young adults at Metro Life and throughout Central Florida. We want to see the name of Jesus exalted. We want to share the good news and watch the joy in people as they meet Jesus. We want to grow in our own understanding and relationships with God. We want to see young adults take ownership of the church.
We want to do this right, with everyone together. The truth is, there are brothers and sisters who are hurting right now. We don’t want to brush their doubts and pain aside. So as leaders, we are calling for a night of lament.
A Night of Hopeful Lament
Now this language might be confusing to some of us. We often don’t talk about lamenting and we probably gather to do it together even less. So please bear with me as I explain what we desire.
I think the words that were spoken in Job 5 (which were true but spoken foolishly) is a good place for us to start. They say,
“For he (God) wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.”
Some of us are hurting. Some of us are lonely. Some of us don’t feel the nearness of God. This half year has been a time of breaking. Personally, I have felt it and what’s more I think I’m numb to how much has been broken. Now unlike Job’s friend, I’m not saying that God has done this to us because we have sinned. But I want to acknowledge two important things. The first is an unbearable truth without the second.
First, God is ultimately in control of our pain.
But second, the hands that are breaking us are guided by love.
God doesn’t just cruelly break bones. When God breaks bones, he is resetting them. Yes, God wounds. But he wounds to make us whole.
God uses both, the splendid abundant day times AND the overwhelmingly dark long painful nights, to make us into the image of Jesus. One without the other would never be able to finish the good work God has started in each one of us.
Does this mean we should just put on a fake smile and pretend we like it? The bible would resoundingly say, no.
Biblical lamenting is this. We feel rejected. We feel far off. We feel God doesn’t hear us, or love us, or cares about us. Instead of getting terrified of these feelings, we bring them to God. We acknowledge the pain that we feel. God is big enough for you to be honest.
But we added the word hopeful into tonight. Lamenting in scripture consistently has hope. Time and time again in the bible we see people describe the darkness they find themselves in. But then there is a turn. There is a moment where they look beyond what they experience in that moment to hold onto, in hope, what is true about God.
Because it might feel like a long dark night. It might seem like our circumstances will never change. We can feel abandoned and rejected. But we know this. The sun will dawn again. The light will breakthrough. And when it does, we will not find that God has abandoned us, but that he was with us the entire time.
We believe that God is taking us through a painful and long dark night. But we hold fast that God has a purpose for this pain. That bones are being set. As leaders, we are confident that good is going to come of this. We invite you to lean on that faith. We invite you to join us on August 25th for a night of hopeful lament. We will read scripture, pray, listen to statements of lament and sing worship. We ask that you come honestly before God and we pray, that as we cry out with the small faith that we have. The truths of Jesus would begin to shine over in our lives.
Our aim is not to fix people. Our aim is to reach out in faith together. So, come as you are brothers and sisters. And if by the end of the night, you still only see darkness, we want you to feel the hands of brothers and sisters reaching out, grabbing hold of you, and hear the whisper “You will not be alone. We will wait together. The dawn is coming!”
On behalf of the MYA Leadership Team