WEEK 2: LAMENT
Lament is not about getting things off your chest. It’s about casting your anxieties upon God and trusting Him with them. Mere complaining indicates a lack of intimacy with God. Because lament is a form of prayer, lament transforms our cries and complaints into worship.
Anyone can complain, and practically everyone does. Christians can lament because we have access to the creator of the world and author of our stories. Christians talk to God about their condition and ask Him to change things because they have a relationship with Him. To lament is to be utterly honest before a God whom our faith tells us we can trust. Biblical lament affirms that suffering is real and spiritually significant but not hopeless.
Q: What breaks your heart? What about your own brokenness frustrates or grieves you? What breaks your heart about the brokenness of the city?
Q: How do you normally deal with these emotions?
Lent is a season of sorrow. More than usual, we are aware of the frail and fallen condition of our world and certainly in our own body and soul. Our reflection during this season stirs a deep sense that something is wrong. The Psalms teach us how to lament.
Read Psalm 88
O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah. You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape; my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you. Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah. Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon? Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless. Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me. They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together. You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.
Q: What does this passages teach us about lament?
Q: Can you share your complaints and sorrow with God? What makes that difficult? What do we do instead of lamenting to God? What do we miss when we do these things?
Pray for words, images, and details of your life’s pain to come freely and pour out your anger, fear, confusion, sadness, desperation, disappointment, and weariness in complaint before God.
Pray that our knowledge of God’s love in Christ’s suffering would make us safe people to receive the laments of others without spiritually trying to correct, edit, or silence their expression of pain.
Thank Christ for hearing you and being with you in your soul’s journey through death into life in Him (if you can’t bring yourself to that, plead for Him to hear you).