Lamentations 1 – Learning to Lament

On a frigid day in February, I lowered the tiny casket of my daughter into a newly dug grave. A few days earlier, my wife had given birth to our stillborn daughter, Sylvia, after carrying her for nearly nine months. Her due date was just a few days away. And then Sylvia’s heart stopped beating with no explanation.
My wife and I firmly believed in God’s goodness. We knew he was going to work in our pain for his glory and our good. We treasured his sovereignty. But daily life was still hard—very hard. Grief wasn’t tame. Through our dark moments, we talked to God about our pain, our questions, and our fears.
When I occasionally shared the struggles of my soul, however, some responded uncomfortably or oddly. They often tried to find something positive to say. Others stumbled by attempting to make a personal connection with our pain. When I was honest with the depth of our wrestling or doubts, people usually wanted to move on—quickly.
It became clear that most people didn’t know how to walk with us in our grief. I know every person had good intentions. I don’t blame them or hold resentment. But it was as if they didn’t speak our language.
The missing element in our grief was a familiarity with lament—the heartfelt and honest talking to God through the struggles of life.
Looking back, I can now see that the missing element in our grief was a familiarity with lament—heartfelt and honest talking to God through the struggles of life.
Life is filled with sorrow. It seems we should be more familiar with this inspired expression of grief. Even Jesus poured out his heart to the Father by quoting a lament Psalm while on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1).
My personal and pastoral journey taught me that it takes faith to lament.
God has given us this minor-key song because of the grace that comes as we turn, complain, ask, and trust. More than formulaic stages of grief, this prayer language invites us to keep talking to God about pain, even when the dark clouds linger.
Simply stated, lament is a prayer in pain that leads to trust.
Lament is more than tears and sorrow. It turns to the Savior who promised to return. Lament vocalizes the longing for the day when “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 21:4). Christians believe in the goodness of God, and they know the arc of the plan of redemption: creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
In the meantime, as we long for the completion of that glorious plan, we lament.
That’s why lament shouldn’t be missing from our praying, singing, teaching, or counseling. We should allow it to bring grace to small group meetings, grief recovery groups, or pastoral prayers in the midst of a national crisis.
Recovering the historic, biblical language of lament can be a ballast for the soul as we journey through a broken world.

Adapted from an article by Mark Vreogop
Read the full article at the Gospel Coalition

Read Lamentations 1 and consider how present in gospel-focused lament in your own life? In what ways it missing? In what ways could you grow in how you lament with others in their trials and struggles?

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul by Sovereign Grace

Posted on: January 3, 2020 - 9:04AM

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