It has been said, “To cry is human, but to lament is Christian”. What do you think Mark Vroegop meant when he used this phrase in his book, “Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy”? Did you know that almost one-third of the Psalms are “songs of lament”? In fact, there is a whole book in the Old Testament called Lamentations. Jesus called out to God in His darkest moments a prayer of lament, didn’t He? A lament is defined as a “passionate expression of grief or sorrow that a person has experienced or observed”. It provides a way to express to God in bold and honest words not only your pain and suffering, but your need and desire for God’s intervention. Facing your heartache openly, with no pretense or denial, and then seeking God’s help or deliverance is a process that leads to worship, to faith, and finally to hope.
There’s a story in the Old Testament of a woman who clearly expressed her lament to the Lord. She was miserable, upset, grieving, and weeping, but also persistent. Over the years of infertility, she had come to the Lord with her request. Her husband had lovingly reassured her of his love for her both through his words and his actions. She didn’t give up. Then one day, she was able to turn her anguish to trust. Little did she know what good plans God had for the boy who from before conception belonged to Him. You’re right! Her name was Hannah, which means “God’s gift to the world” or “grace/favour”.
Lament is a divinely-given invitation to pour out our sorrows to The Only One who truly understands us and can renew our hope and joy. In his very helpful book, “A Praying Life”, Paul Miller writes, “We think laments are disrespectful. God says the opposite. Lamenting shows you are engaged with God in a vibrant, living faith. We live in a deeply broken world. If the pieces of our world aren’t breaking your heart and you aren’t in God’s face about them, then . . . you’ve thrown in the towel.” Yes or no?