Grief’s heart-language strains to make sense of the irreparably broken, plumbs bottomless depths for slippery words, and grapples with bits and pieces of flotsam cast about by the oceans of the world. Tears flow like spume crashing down mountain crevices, pooling angry streams, and flooding once-fertile banks. I look around. Uselessness seems to be the norm.

Such is my world this afternoon as I write. To soothe my psyche I perused the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Lamentations (586 BCE) and marveled at its poetic utterances lamenting the plight of the Exilic Jews, vanquished under the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar: its city of Jerusalem wasted; its Temple destroyed and left desolate by Yahweh. The tone is bleak.

Yet the burden of their sinfulness, the stinging angst in their psyches, was far worse than the devastation and fires and loss of country. Fortunately for us, the ancient poets of the Book of Lamentations had the spiritual rigor to leave us their ultimate response: hope in the face of the impossible.

Would that someone could craft a response to the brokenness of our world. Certainly the pool of suffering deepens and hope seems stuck away in underground abysses. Certainly prayer, in solitude, can help: Let God be God in His world.