Advent 2020

Devotional

A climate of radical hope


Through five chapters in Lamentations, we read the Israelites’ laments, protests and cries of pain and disorientation in the face of the Babylonian invasion. This huge, violent force burst in, conquered Jerusalem and forced the Israelites into exile. Unsurprisingly, they felt like God had abandoned them.


Then, in chapter three, we discover some verses filled with hope. They are like a light bursting out through the darkness. The character speaking in the chapter shares his agony, saying all strength and hope is lost. He then chooses to realign his eyes: lifting them above the ashes to the truth that his God is a God of justice, a God whose compassion never fails.


Without trying to reconcile the contrast between his pain and God’s goodness, he acknowledges that, even in the darkest of times, hope can still be found. 


A year of lamentation


This year has been one that’s prompted lamenting for many of us. Lamenting is simply outwardly expressing grief or sorrow. From climate change to racial injustice – and the devastating effects these are having especially on people living in poverty – it seems the brokenness of the world has been brought into sharp focus. 


There is so much to lament, and even with the amazing work that churches around the world are doing, it can sometimes feel like we’re losing the fight. With the climate crisis in particular – and the way it has such a direct and drastic effect on so many people living in poverty – it seems far easier to imagine things falling apart than to imagine a new, restorative and fairer future.


God’s restoration story includes creation as well as people, and all of us are called to be a part of this work. It is right to be angered by the injustice in this world and to lament. This is an important, valid, faithful response to the world around us. Together we cry out in love for the people and creation God has designed and loved.


Jack Wakefield, Tearfund’s Campaigns Team. He is passionate about Jesus and caring for creation.