And Yet – Session Two
And Yet – Session Two
This session looks at grief and lament and explores how hope in Christ can impact the process.

This session is about ordinary time. Ordinary time takes up a big chunk of the Church year – it comes from the Latin empress per Anum (time throughout the year). It traditionally celebrates that Christ is active throughout all the mystery of human life – even when there aren’t any specific festivals to mark.

From the Book

What is clear though is that facing our grief can and should be done before our Creator; we see this countless times throughout Scripture, that God can handle us expressing the depths of our pain.
More than this though, grieving with hope relies on our past experiences with God. We don’t merely need to imagine that God is there, we are reminded to look back at all that he has already done, both for us individually and for others. I don’ know about you but, when I was in my teens, one of the most popular poems shared around on bookmarks and notebooks was the Footprints poem. No one is really sure who wrote it,
but it recounts the journey of a man walking along a beach with God at the end of his life and looking back at the sets of footprints in the sand. At some points there are two sets, but as he looks back at the most difficult parts of his life, there is only one set. He assumes that it’s because God left him when the going got tough, when the reality was that during those hardest of times he was carried by God, leaving only one set of footprints.
I remember being given numerous copies of the poem as I struggled with God about where he was in the midst of my depression; the message was the same from everyone – God has not abandoned you, look how far he has brought you. It was a comforting message then, and it still is, but I think there is further to go.
The comfort that God gives when we are grieving is not just that he looks after us, but that he has consistently looked after his people since the beginning of time. From clothing Adam and Eve, despite them having to leave Eden, to the countless times he calls the Israelite people back to himself when they yet again seek their gods elsewhere. We are not alone in hoping and waiting for God to show up and history shows us that he does so every time. It’s why the Bible helps us to grieve with hope, because it records all the hopeless souls who have cried out to him and found God met them in their distress.

Page 59-60

Watch the Video

Study Notes

Life is made up of the middle where life is not high or low. God is with us through lament in these times. Lament means holding fast to who God is even through the hard times. Holding together the pain of life and the goodness of God.

The book of lamentations is an acrostic poem in the Hebrew which represents the totality of the grief. At the centre of this prayer are these words.

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3: 21-23

All of our ‘yets’ are hinged on the goodness of God – life can feel unbearably painful ‘And Yet’ God through Jesus walks us through the journey. This pattern of ‘And Yet’, is seen throughout scripture. See Psalm 42 for example.

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

8 By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my God.

Psalm 42

This shows how the Psalmist changes perspective, amidst their circumstances, to invite God into their pain which in turn brings hope. It is a heavenly perspective that is eternal and doesn’t say the pain is not important – it is right to grieve, but we must grieve with hope. Along with pain is purpose. Like Mary Magdalene, who saw Jesus through her tears, in learning to lament we perhaps can see things though our tears that we otherwise would not be able to see.

Discussion Points