Janet`s July 2021 Letter to the Community

I am writing the day after the Prime Minister has announced that the lifting of lockdown restrictions will be delayed for a further month.  While we may understand why the decision has been made, for many people it represents a huge disappointment.  And it comes on top of many disappointments endured over the past year-and-a-bit:  the significant birthdays that have had to be celebrated alone; the final stays in hospital when visitors were not allowed; the funerals with only tiny numbers present; the first months of a grandchild’s life shared only on Zoom; the delayed weddings; the loss of much-anticipated holidays; and the missing regular contacts with our loved ones that do so much to make life worth living


Disappointment is a part of life.  We do not live in a perfect world, we are not perfect people and neither are those around us so disappointment is unavoidable and it is important to handle it well because, when not properly dealt with, it can poison our lives.  We can become angry, embittered and sour, failing to recognise any good in life, and losing touch with the love of God and of those most precious to us.


The Book of Psalms is a catalogue of wonderfully honest reactions to a whole range of situations, some joyful and some most definitely not.  It includes entirely wholesome responses to disappointment.  Psalm 13 begins, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever? How long will you hide your face from me?  How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?”  That’s pretty strong stuff.  The psalmist knows that he needs to acknowledge what he is feeling and that he needs to express it to God.  There is no point in pretending that all is well when it quite obviously is not and God can cope with our anger and sadness.  He will not be destroyed by them.


And after we have poured out our pain to God, we need then to allow him to remind us that he is the creator of all, and, if we will let him, can work in all things for our good – not to make life easy, but to make it productive.  We could adopt the prayer that follows on a section of Psalm 119 in the Church of England’s Common Worship Morning Prayer:


God our comforter, send your Holy Spirit
to reveal your hidden mercy even in our failures and troubles;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.



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