Who’s Crying Now?
Be willing to bring your tears to God as you read, and pray about the pain in our world today.
Read Joel 1:13–20
13 Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn;
wail, you who minister before the altar.
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
you who minister before my God;
for the grain offerings and drink offerings
are withheld from the house of your God.
14 Declare a holy fast;
call a sacred assembly.
Summon the elders
and all who live in the land
to the house of the Lord your God,
and cry out to the Lord.
15 Alas for that day!
For the day of the Lord is near;
it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
16 Has not the food been cut off
before our very eyes—
joy and gladness
from the house of our God?
17 The seeds are shriveled
beneath the clods.
The storehouses are in ruins,
the granaries have been broken down,
for the grain has dried up.
18 How the cattle moan!
The herds mill about
because they have no pasture;
even the flocks of sheep are suffering.
19 To you, Lord, I call,
for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness
and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.
20 Even the wild animals pant for you;
the streams of water have dried up
and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectTears can be a sign of repentance or compassion that bring true healing. Do you know someone who has shed tears lately?
The people of God in Joel are experiencing environmental devastation. The ground and the
animals cry out to God. The prophet joins the lament of the earth in wailing to the Lord. When all is lost there is only one place to go. God is the only one who can save them.
In this time of great danger, the prophet Joel calls the people to assemble in worship. They are told to gather together and cry out to the Lord. This act of desperation may be a last-ditch attempt to save their own skin or it may be the first sign of turning back to God.
Our world is also in the throes of environmental destruction. We hear the earth groaning in expectation of renewal. We are overwhelmed by the scale of devastation, and we hardly know where to begin to confront the issues. Bringing our lament to God is a start. Lament is not just crying out to the air; it is crying out to God in the context of worship.
When your world is in ruins, it’s okay to face the pain. God receives your lament. Cry, weep, wail—he not only allows it, he invites it.
“Sanctify a fast… and cry out to the Lord” (14). Choose a way to fast and spend time praying today for our world to return to God.
Holy Spirit, when our grief for the world is deep, and we don’t have the words to pray, intercede for us with groanings that go deeper still.