This week, my small group is covering the chapter from my not-yet-published book Praying with the Psalmists about Thanksgiving Psalms. Since I want them to try praying their own thanksgiving psalm, I’m planning to take up the challenge myself.
But then my family got some terrible news — and I need to write a lament first.
Here’s a picture of my brother’s family, which I took in Maui last December at my sister’s wedding.
Their middle child, Meredith, six years old, this week relapsed with leukemia. Her first diagnosis with leukemia was January 2020, when she was three years old. She went through two years of treatments and appointments and one year ago was given a clean bill of health, and we all thought it was over and done.
So this is quite a blow. (And anyone reading this, please say a prayer for Meredith.)
So before I tackle a thanksgiving psalm (And before this news, I was thinking of thanking God for Meredith’s healing. It was a beautiful thing.) — I need to pray a lament for Meredith and this awful news.
I made an acronym to remember the form of a Lament:
Address to God
Confession of Trust
Sureness of Help
This isn’t going to be polished. But let me pray:
Lord, I come before you.
Hear my prayer.
Listen to my heart’s cry
and look with compassion on my family.
Six years old, Lord!
She’s only six years old.
Pain and discomfort and medical appointments have been a big part of her life.
Lord, she’s a child!
Not a saint, but a beautiful wonder of your creation.
With your image inside her,
the spark of independent thought,
a little girl full of life and wonder and curiosity and fun.
Her family’s been through so much, Lord.
Her parents have lived with the fear of losing her for half her life.
On top of so many other pressures.
Lord, it’s too much!
Father, I notice that when I mention to anyone
that my six-year-old niece is again facing leukemia,
every single person responds with compassion.
How could you do anything less?
Lord, look on this child, this family
have compassion on their pain and fear.
And, Lord, you showed up before.
You got them through those two years of treatments.
They were daunted; it was hard,
but her body responded well
and she finished the treatments
with joy and celebration.
We know that your compassion is unending
and your mercy is great.
Lord, grant Meredith your healing.
Grant her family your grace and strength.
We ask for life for Meredith,
life and health and joy.
Show your mercy;
send your comfort.
“You, O God, do see trouble and grief;
you consider it to take it in hand.”
We know that you love Meredith
more than any human can.
We know that you see;
we know that you care.
And Lord, we look forward to the day
when we can celebrate again
for Meredith once more
enjoying a body free of cancer.
Somehow, we’re going to top a unicorn party!