Lament

The holidays can be difficult, sorrowful, lonely. I hope this may help you understand that it is ok. God is there for you if only you turn to Him.

What is a lament?
It comes from the Latin word lamenta: weeping and wailing. It is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. It is a means to express regret or disappointment over something considered unsatisfactory, unreasonable, or unfair.

The Bible is filled with laments from individuals to prophets to kings. Nehemiah 1:4 records his reaction to the devastating news that the city of Jerusalem lay in ruins. “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” He lamented for days.

Job 30:20, 26, speaks of how he has been afflicted with ever increasing suffering. “I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me..But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came”. Job looks at his situation and is honest about the pain he is suffering. He talks about his dashed hopes and how the only thing left to do is weep and mourn.

Psalm 88:3, 9, 14 echoes those sentiments. The psalmist writes, “For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol…Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you…O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?”. The psalmist starts with honesty about his life. He is close to death and his soul is full of troubles. He remarks how he has reached out to God for deliverance and yet his suffering continues. He begins to question why God has allowed his suffering. Are we not the same?

Lamentations is the only book that consists solely of laments. Chapters 1 and 2 begin by expressing deep distress. Chapter 3 shifts focus. Verses 19–23: “Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 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 author turns from the distress of his situation to the goodness of God. Chapter 4 contrasts the past and present while clinging to the promises of the future. Chapter 5 ends by asking for God’s intervention, “Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old” (verse 21).

God welcomes our honest emotions. He expects us to bring our anguish and distress to Him. There is no reason to hide our disappointment or sorrow from God and no reason to rush through these emotions reaching for joy too quickly. When we bring these laments before God, we align our hearts with His. God does not delight in the suffering of His people. God is not unacquainted with deep sorrow. When we lament, we join with Him in declaring these situations as not ideal. We serve a God who rejoices in doing good to His people, who grieves when suffering comes to them, and who welcomes our laments and times of healing.

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