There is benefit to be gained from practising biblical lament. It’s often wise to look back and question where we’re at before we can move forward again with hope, courage and confidence. Because it helps us to process what is troubling our souls and learn from the mistakes we have made.
Armed with that knowledge, we are better placed not to repeat them. Even if our hopes, goals and plans don’t tally with our actual experiences, we needn’t lose heart. As we release those things to God, we can learn to trace His hand in it all. But if we don’t acknowledge our pain, it still sits within—hurting and festering.
Biblical lament reveals how it’s actually healthy to reflect on our losses, communal or individual… providing we don’t get stuck there. Lament opens a door for us to address our concerns to God, honestly express our feelings, request a response and express our faith and trust. Our prayerful soul inspection should move us toward release, greater acceptance and gratitude.
“O Lord, hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from honest lips.” – Psalm 17:1 (NLT)
Why lament is a way to move forward again
Can we see the value of lament and reflection? Do we know how it helps us to understand ourselves better? So we can seek to live differently. To open our arms to richer experience, the potential for change and new beginnings.
For instance, I’ve grieved the strength I’ve lacked. M.E and chronic illness derailed my career and numerous potentially active years. It stole dreams, choked hope and made it hard to live and love as freely as I wanted to.
Though it doesn’t get to have the final say. I choose to make the most of the days that are gifted to me. I want to savour each one and all God is teaching me through the hard, and learn more about sensing joy in the midst of pain. God alone gives us restoration of all things.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13 (NIV)
How lament can help us to adjust
Lament and grieving are necessary things, because we can’t fully move forward unless we learn to accept what has passed. And seek God’s help to come to terms with the losses.
Because there are unexpected gifts to be discovered in dark places, mined in pain. They are made available to all who are willing to press through the grieving process, and allow themselves to look beyond it to the fruit it produces in their soul: deeper dependence on God and inner growth.
We come face to face with the brokenness in the world and in ourselves, but as believers in Christ it needn’t faze us. God’s grace enables us to experience redemption in our hearts and lives.
You and I can rest our anxious hearts in the remembrance of God’s all-consuming mercy and love, His supreme involvement with and authority over everything.
Lament as the pathway to a new beginning
Scripture tells us that better times are coming. What we see and experience now isn’t the end of the story. It’s just the pathway to a new beginning. Although God doesn’t leave us in a place of despair. Holy hope is always available to us. We will have reason to rejoice again.
“For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:1-2 (NKJV)
I’ve asked some hard questions here to help us consider the benefits of biblical lament. I would love to hear your thoughts on it too, as we discover how best to implement lament in our lives in a helpful, positive way.