Have you explored Biblical Lament? I must admit, when I first read this phrase recently, I thought it sounded just a bit antiquated, for another era or time. However, I’ve been part of an amazing book launch, Discovering Hope, by Cindee Snider Re
, (more will be coming on this next week,) and I have found a beautiful perspective on the subject of suffering and expressing our hearts to God.
I realized that many of my favorite Psalms are actually Biblical Laments
“O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.”
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
I grew up in a strict church setting, where GOOD was always emphasized. Consequently, many have attributed a kindness to me personally that may have just been one more way that my church-girl self chose to keep the GOOD-RULE activated. My older brothers will never forget my “God-Forgive” Stage. Any time I saw myself (or anyone in my close circle, for that matter) speak or do anything out of line, I was quick to yell out, “Better say ‘God forgive!'” Cute, coming from a 7-year-old, but rather excessive when I’ve realized I still carry the trappings of that 7-year-old thought process in my heart today.
Speaking a dark thought? “Say God-Forgive!”
Uttering a harsh phrase? “Say God-Forgive!”
Mulling over doubt-filled questions? “Say God-Forgive!”
But where does all of that leave a person who is cluttered with questions about the dreary days that chronic illness creates? . . .
Drifting in a barren land where speech is quenched and searching is cut off. In a culture that idolizes fitness and health, the quenching days easily multiply to become a state of denial. And “OK” becomes the rote answer for how we are feeling.
Have we, in the Church, missed something when we have emphasized GOOD-SPEAK, at the expense of Honest-Speak?
So, I gave it a go, and began the process of looking at the Lament happening in my heart.
Oh my Lord, I lay
my weary body down
The weight of this pain
has crushed my soul
for too many days
Yet my heart
still seeks and looks
for a hand-hold in the cliff
How high must I climb?
How long is the journey?
How wide is the sea?
How deep is the trial?
In your hand is relief
The only tonic
to quench my thirst
In your embrace
will the comfort be found
far from the world’s taunts
My Jesus have mercy
My Savior sweet Lord
I know I have much to learn in this place of honest lamenting with God. It’s not a matter of learning how to complain–strange how being in a state of denial actually increases the ability to complain long and loud. No, this is a lesson in exploring the deep crevices of a rocky landscape, and finding God’s Spirit waiting for me there.
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life which God has promised for all those who love him.” James 1:12
I tend to view my progress through these days, ESPECIALLY because I feel so weak, as so many failed efforts at learning what I am supposed to. But if this Scripture is true, that the perseverance itself is a form of obedience, then I need to shift my judgment of myself to a more grace-filled plane. God is giving me grace here:
Not only is Jesus NOT offended by my weakness, But He is actually pleased with my plodding and stumbling gait that is persevering thru the trial.
Are you in a Season of Perseverance? Maybe the time is right to explore Biblical Lament and find yourself in the Grace-filled Place with me.