Updated: Mar 6
'Crying out our sorrow to God as we learn to trust in God'
It's a season to Lament. To stop. To remember. To cry. To wait. To hope.
Yes we long for this pandemic to pass, and yes better days will come. But today is a time of lament, not to rush and forget but to remember our loss: 'Healing comes through memory, not forgetfulness, and a vital part of the grieving process is honestly confronting what has been lost.' (Ryken)
Through this year we have all lost what is most precious to us. The loss of family gatherings, birthdays, ceremonies, friendships and most acutely the loss of loved ones. Some things will be regained, but some will never be retrieved.
Lament is the heart language of God towards what is broken and what has been lost. It is the language God gives us to express in words the cry of our hearts. Lament takes our pain and hurts, our grieving and suffering and enables us to look to God in faith. 'It gives voice to the deepest agonies of grief, with the hope that some comfort may come from crying out to God for mercy.' (Ryken) Lament is important because through it comes our healing. As we cry out our sorrow to God we affirm our trust in God.
Lamentations is a book of lament, grieving the loss and brokenness of God's people as they were taken into exile. At the centre of the book 3v19-33 we listen in to the cry of one who has experienced the suffering and turns it in prayer to God.
'I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.' 3v19
We too remember our loss: the lingering conversation over a meal, the warm embrace of a friend. We look back to joyful memories of visits and meeting up, 'yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.' 3v21-23
In the midst of our struggle we can remember that God is not cold hearted or unmoved, but spontaneously reaches out to the weak and broken.
We long for better days: Holding our grandchildren, joining with church family. Of course there are times when the waiting is unbearable and we doubt God's love and faithfulness. We forget the promises and listen to the voice that says: God doesn't care, God's not interested, God's not good. But our Laments bring us forward allowing us to say in faith: 'The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the lord.' 3v25-26
As God's children we long for something better, we long for our eternal salvation. But in trust we wait. He listens, he hears, he will answer.
Grieving what we have lost, by faith is turned to the glory of what is to come: 'Let him bury his face in the dust - there may yet be hope.' 3v29 There is a time to weep and mourn, to repent and be humbled, but only so that we might be filled with hope: 'For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.' 3v31-32
These times of sorrow and suffering enable us to see our loss more deeply and look to one who restores and renews more fully. He gives hope of better things that are yet to come.
Lament not only gives us words, it invites us to join with God in his lament and sorrow for a lost and broken world. Through lament we remember, we wait, we hope.