Cries of distress

There is a raw expression of grief, which bubbles up from the deepest places of the heart, and erupts in a howl of lament. It is the kind of cry of distress that once heard is never forgotten. It pierces the heart and the soul of all who hear. It is the cry of someone who has had bad news, a terminal diagnosis, the death of a loved one. For whatever reason, we can all relate to that feeling of anguish.

At the moment, we seem to live in an age that oscillates between numbness and lament. One minute we are pretending we are fine – people say they are double vaccinated, going out, doing better. However, when something goes wrong, even a little thing, a missed delivery, a thoughtless driver, there can be explosions of rage and irritability.

The pandemic has had so many repercussions; not just for the people who have been ill with covid 19, those who struggle with long covid and those have lost loved ones. It has put many, many people, especially those with disabilities and mental illness, carers and key workers under terrible long-term stress. Services have been disrupted, so many cutbacks, isolation and loss.

At times we can all be guilty of just surviving, to keep on going, to get through another day, we can be desensitised and on automatic pilot. We must make time to let our emotions surface, explore what is going on, find a safe space to express our distress, disappointment and grief.

As key workers, we have experienced pain and loss. We need time and space to decompress, to acknowledge the impact of our experiences, personally and professionally. The Church should be a safe place, where we can weep and cry without embarrassment.

In Lamentations 1:20 the prophet Jeremiah says:

“See o Lord, how distressed I am,

My soul is deeply disturbed,

My heart is overturned within me and cannot rest.”


Jeremiah is weeping for the sin of the people, the destruction of Jerusalem, the pain and suffering he sees around him.  We have so much to lament; changes in our churches, reductions in ministry numbers, as well as the many painful losses in our society.


We pray, that by taking masks off, spiritually speaking, and honestly admitting our vulnerability and pain, it will enable us to embark on a process of healing and grace. We need networks of grace across our churches in these times of challenge and uncertainty.


Lamentations 3:22-23 remind us of God’s understanding and sustaining grace:


“It is because of the Lord’s loving kindness that we are not consumed,

Because His tender compassions never fail,

They are new every morning,

Great is your faithfulness.”


May God help us to experience His tender mercies in tangible forms. May we take time to confess our fears and worries in whatever higglety pigglety way we need and have them lifted from us, to find a healthy balance in our lives.


Gracious and faithful God, we live in a vortex of uncertainty, pain and frustration.

Lord Jesus, You wept over the death of your friend, and the suffering of Jerusalem.

Help us to be honest about our suffering and the cries of the distressed around us, and to find safe spaces to lament.

Holy Spirit, as we acknowledge our brokenness, may You shape something of lasting beauty within us,



Fiona Gardener