It’s springtime, the Easter season, and we should all be joyful, right? Yet people seem to be gloomy and somewhat desperate because of COVID-19. These times remind me of the need of the lost art of lamenting. It’s not complaining, folks. Yet that seems what most people are doing right now. Instead, we should be lamenting.
I cry aloud to the Lord;
I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble.
(Ps. 142:1-2, NIV,*)
You see, lament leads to hope, complaining doesn’t. Complaining doesn’t get us anywhere and it certainly does not lift our spirits. Lamenting invites God in the midst of our problems and opens us to God and his possibilities. And even if our circumstances do not dramatically change right away, our spirits are lifted above our problems.
The lost art of lament
Often we think the book of Psalms is solely a happy book. But more than half of the Psalms are laments. Life is hard, we need to lament. Complaining does not help us but lamenting does.
I cry to you, Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
(Ps. 142:5-6, NIV,*)
Lamenting is a form of praise, an expression of trusting God even when there is no proof of God’s help. And lamenting is a prayer for God to do something in order to help us.
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
1that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
(Ps. 30:11-12, NIV,*)
We are God’s people, we are welcome into God’s presence as we are, there’s no need to fake. Instead, God loves to hear our authentic expressions of our feelings. Hence we need to learn to practice the lost art of lament.
Lamenting is nothing but trusting God with everything. No sugar-coating, no forced positivity. Just raw expression of our reality and leaning on God while doing it.
Lamenting is waiting on God, expecting him to act, trusting him and his timing. This won’t last forever but it’s part of the process of becoming more of who God created us to be, readying us into eternal joy.
Let’s lament together
Oh, God, our God,
We come to you empty and exhausted, help us, Lord.
The world is suffering, heal us, Lord, especially the most vulnerable.
Bring an end to this plague, save us, Lord.
See all the lonely and desperate, surround them with your grace.
We cry to You, Lord, give us your peace.
It’s hardest to wait when we don’t know when this will end, Lord, give us patience.
Why oh why do we have to suffer, Lord, hold us close to you.
Lord, we turn to you, there’s no one like you.
Bless us, Lord, we need you so.
May your will happen, we trust you, even now we worship you.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Do you complain or do you lament?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you turn to God with everything!