The gift of lament

There are times when life can seem overwhelming. We can be overcome by the relentless stories of tragedy, evil and injustice in this fallen world we live in. Recognizing the depths of the brokenness and pain in our own lives can leave us with enormous sorrow and heaviness.

I have recently been exploring the gift of “lament” – the opportunity we each have to come before God and pour out our hearts to Him, holding nothing back. Throughout Scripture, we read how God’s people cried out to Him in their suffering. In the Psalms, we see David’s troubled heart as he seeks God, pleading with Him, pursuing His presence, longing for His peace and hope in the midst of uncertainty. Psalm 13 begins with David imploring God with these words: “How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts, and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” (v1-2)

Lament is not giving in to despair. It is not withdrawing and becoming silent as the storm rages around us. Instead it is a bold demonstration of our faith as we recognize who God is and express our resolve to draw closer to Him rather than pull away. God invites us to ask those deep questions that haunt our minds, and he promises to meet us in our waiting. He assures us that one day He will set all things right – and that, at that time, there will be great rejoicing. In Psalm 13, having honestly poured out his complaints, David concludes: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”

For now, however, as we look around us, there is so much pain and injustice to lament. The death of elderly people as they lie alone in hospitals and nursing homes. A young man gunned down while out jogging, murdered simply because of the color of his skin. Young girls abducted from their homes, enslaved, and forced into being raped continually by evil men. Refugees fleeing their homes as a result of violence and conflict. The unmistakable corruption evident in so many governments and people in positions of authority. The pandemics of hunger, disease, and malnutrition, which claim the lives of thousands and thousands of children – every single day. And the depravity we become so acutely aware of in our own hearts and lives.

May we be people that cry out to God because of the injustices of this world. May we listen to His voice as He responds to our pleadings. May we remember that we can trust Him – and that we have a real and lasting hope.

Darkness will not have the final word.

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