Surely no season in recent memory has been more like a desolate pit and a miry bog than those many months when COVID-19 first ravaged our country and the succeeding months when variants and uncertainties have loomed (v. 2). When the weight of humanity feels heavier than we can bear, I’m grateful the psalmists give us a language of lament. In my twenty-seven years of working in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, I’ve never seen suffering like I first saw when trying to help COVID-19 patients regain their basic function and independence. There was unique desperation and helplessness among patients for whom just propping up on their elbow was relentlessly exhausting. As case numbers continued to rise, health professionals wondered, “How long, O Lord?” We offered personal laments while keenly aware that we had lost nothing compared to those families who were unexpectedly burying their beloveds.
Many people have inspired us through this time—fellow rehabilitation colleagues, research scientists, physicians, respiratory therapists, ICU nurses, chaplains, environmental services workers who continuously cleaned, community members who cheered us on. I’ve been most inspired by patients who kept trying to get better against the greatest of odds. In each one, I saw the face of God who ultimately lifts each of us up, in our own way and time. So many in our nation and world still struggle under the deep burdens and losses of this unwelcome season. I pray that God will yet put a new song in my mouth and sustain us with an unquenchable hope (v. 3).
Name aloud those you know who died from the effects of COVID-19, and who are still suffering from its effects, along with their family members.
Healing God, thank you for your presence with us and around us during a dismal and often desperate season. Continue to pour out your Spirit on those who suffer and grieve from illness and loss. Offer them hope for a new day. Amen.