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To the Unemployed…

We all are having to find ways to cope with unexpected fear, anxiety, hopelessness and powerlessness. By Hope Wilson

Come unto me! Ah, gentlest word
E’er breathed in human ear!
“I am thy Savior and thy Lord;
Dear child, thou need’st not fear.

Come unto me in sorrow’s hour
When life seems dark and drear;
I’ll shield thee from the tempter’s power;
Dear child, thou need’st not fear.

Come unto me when hopes have flown
Like leaves wind-swept and sere,
When every joy thou may’st bemoan;
Dear child, thou need’st not fear.

Come unto me. I’ll give thee rest,
Will wipe away each tear;
Come lean thy head upon my breast;
Dear child, thou need’st not fear.”

– Nannie R. Glass

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. It seems in a moment we went from planning weddings, vacations and soccer games to stay-at-home curfews and to, “Sorry we cannot keep you on the payroll, we are closing.” Forecasts are useless here. The impact is personal and affects your own family’s survival. The job market has come to a halt. People are not hiring for fear of what the economy will look like post-coronavirus. We all are having to find ways to cope with unexpected fear, anxiety, hopelessness and feelings of powerlessness. You might even feel betrayed by God.

During disorienting times like this, I am reminded of the prayers of lament in the Bible. Dictionaries define lament as “a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.” We are often told God wants us to be healthy and wealthy—and that is true, but not the whole truth. The Bible is full of stories of pain, suffering, hopelessness and powerlessness expressed in prayers of lament in the Psalms, Lamentations and the gospels. And they are recorded for a reason; they are written to comfort, validate and help us express the turmoil we feel in prayer. You are not alone—Job, David and Jesus have been in your shoes. Job knew the sudden loss of everything: “The Lord alone gives and takes,” (Job 1:21, CEV). David could identify with the feeling of being abandoned: “How long, Lord?” (Psalm 13:1, NIV). And our Savior knew rejection all too well from every human being and His own Father: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36, ESV). Are you discouraged almost to despair? God invites you to lament, express your overwhelming griefs and sorrows. Don’t run, but instead turn to Him. He stands ready to revive you and show you the way out.

Three Prayers of Lament That Can Help You

1. Cry. Cry out to God, “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” (Psalm 130:1, NIV). Tell Abba your pain and do not recoil from expressing your fears. Our confidence is not in ourselves, but in God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. We see His commitment to this in Psalm 34:18 (ESV), “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit…” To read individual laments in Scripture, read Psalms 13:42,55 that you can use to express your turmoil in prayer.

2. Ask. After pouring out your heart to the Lord in prayer, do not stop there. That would be grumbling! This is a prayer to make your plea/petition for divine intervention. Like the persistent widow, ask what you need daily. Luke reminds us in Luke 18:1-8 (ESV) that our God is Just. “And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them?” (Luke 18:3-7, ESV).

3. Trust. You have made your troubles and sorrows known to God. You have asked for assistance. Now trust. Prayers of lament are forward-looking, and they look forward to a better tomorrow. They reflect on His faithfulness in the past and in every word in Scripture and lean forward in faith that He who is faithful, will remain faithful to the end. Heed the words we see in Habakkuk:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places”

Habakkuk 3:17-19, ESV

This is so important that you have confidence in God through your situation, though it seems hopeless. You will once again see the goodness of God in the land of the living!

Download our PDF of three takeaways from this article to share with your friends and family.

Have you read other articles in this series? Titles include “To The Student…”, “To The High School/College Senior…”, “To The Fearful…”, “To The Onlooker”, “To the Parent” and “To the Disheartened.”

Look out for “To the Teacher…” by a fellow teacher coming to you early next week!


Hope Wilson is a Senior Policy Analyst at The Salvation Army National Headquarters. She analyzes national trends and legislation and recommends courses of action for The Salvation Army. Recent priorities are the opioid crisis, mental health, re-entry and anti-human trafficking issues. When she isn’t glued to a computer screen, she spends time reading books and hiking.

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