Two weekends ago I attended the funeral of a baby boy who died two months too early and with one too many chromosomes to be compatible with life longer than it took to look his parents in the eyes and form a bond that will never break. To have this moment of meeting this side of heaven had been the parents’ prayer since they got the amnio results many weeks earlier.
The congregation sang the classic hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” The grandfather, a jazz pianist, played his version of “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” The father, dressed in a gray suit and white shirt, read the few lines of hope in the book of Lamentations’ long lament.
But this I call to mind,
And therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I will hope in him”
Lamentations 3:21-24 ESV
When he finished, he sat back in the pew and the mother, his wife, dressed in navy blue, leaned her head on his shoulder as she did for most of the service. The minister spoke on the Lamentation’s passage, how even that passage of hope is bookmarked by the word ‘hope,’ as if there should be no doubt what the words in between were about. “Therefore I have/will hope.” This struck me as true, that a writer in lament would write the reason for hope but also include not one but two note-to-self reminders that the hope is for the lamenter and not only an abstract principle. A proof of sorts, certainly hard-earned with gasps and tears: If....then. “Therefore I have/will hope.”
The minister said, and I wrote this down, “All of life is a fight of faith.”
Then we stood and sang the hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul."