Esther Fleece | January 25, 2017
Lament is not a common word in our churches today, though it is a language woven throughout Scripture. A lament is a passionate expression of our pain that God meets us in. It’s real talk with God about the ways we are hurting. It’s an honest prayer to God about where we are, not where we are pretending to be. A lament may take the form of a plea for help in a time of distress or a protest over injustice.
What a kind God we have, who has warned us that pain in this life will come and has given us a language to relate to Him in the midst of it.
We are not abandoned in a lament; we are being refined, renewed, and held. When we begin to understand God as a God who weeps, we begin to see Him as someone safe to run to in the midst of our pain.
In this 3-day track, Esther guides us into a fuller understanding not only of what lament is, but how it is biblically modeled and leads us to discover God and ourselves in a deeper way.
Strong’s Hebrew concordance says that the word lament has the same root word as “to mourn” and “to wail.” Isn’t that amazing? Lament doesn’t have to be a formal, structured prayer. This prayer is not about being polite or restrained or holding it together.
No, lament is about our most honest expression of pain. Lament is about tapping honestly into our emotions in a deep and primal way that sometimes transcends words. I am comforted to know that God meets us here, any way we choose to cry out.
But in my experience, Christians are not exactly known for being a lamenting people. Too often, we suck it up instead and prescribe a misguided interpretation of how to live with loss. How many of us mistakenly believe that our strength is what God wants from us, when it is our brokenness that actually attracts Him the most?
It was never meant to be this way. God’s grace meets us where we are, not where we pretend to be.
It takes only a peek at Scripture to challenge our misconceptions. Did you know that Abraham lamented? Joseph lamented. David lamented. Ezekiel and Jeremiah, Rachel and Hannah, Peter and Paul all lamented. The majority of the psalms are laments, and the Old Testament even has a book called Lamentations, written by a weeping prophet.
What would we miss if we removed laments from the Bible? We would miss entire books; we would lose stories of people we can relate to; we would miss out on receiving and knowing God’s presence, comfort, and provision in the midst of our stories. We might even miss our Savior, because Jesus Himself lamented the brokenness He encountered in our broken world.
To know God is to need God. So where are all the needy Christians?