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.
Dear Joy, this is so good. I first was introduced to lament as a form of worship through a seminal with Michael Card. I think the church as a whole has forgotten the importance of lament. Like you said we need to acknowledge the pain and grief, giving it to God. Then we can receive healing and hope. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this important topic. Blessings, love and hugs to you, dear sister! xoxo
Dear Gayl, lament seems to be a lamentably (pun intended!) unlikely topic for a sermon, but I think many of us practice biblical lament and see the worth and value in it. Plenty of blog posts and books explore this theme too. And it’s intriguing to use lament as a form of corporate worship, as you have mentioned. May we continue to open up to God in this way if we find it helpful. Because the “healing and hope” it offers are valuable gifts to us. Blessings, love and hugs to you too, dear friend! xoxo 💜
Oh, once again, the Lord has us moving in similar ways this week! What a confirmation to read your words today, about honestly offering lament, fully and freely before the Lord. He is with us right here already, but if we close ourselves to the lamenting, we miss seeing the full beauty of how He is here. What a beautiful thought: “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.” And what a beautiful song, yes, Lord, turn my lament into a love song. Yes, we will praise Him here! Blessings, love and hugs to you my Dear Friend. xoxo
Dear Bettie, I love how often we are moved to speak about similar topics! I look forward to reading your heartfelt words soon. Today I am lamenting my lack of energy, focus and concentration! It’s so true that we might miss “seeing the full beauty of how God (He) is here” to offer us soul consolation and support. It’s such a precious thing to be a recipient of grace, especially when we are feeling low and discouraged. God lifts our hearts in numerous ways, but His comforting and healing presence alone is what sustains and strengthens us to keep pressing in to Him as we experience the hard. I’m glad you like the song! I was grateful to find one that suited this post. May we turn and tune our hearts to praise as we meditate on the Lord’s goodness toward us. Blessings, love and hugs to you too, dear friend! xoxo 💜
This is beautiful, Joy! As usual, our society has moved us toward expressing those things which should remain hidden and hiding those things which should be expressed. Even a cursory reading of the Word reveals that God is okay with our lamenting and pouring out our sorrows to Him. He is well aware of the state of our world, and our bodies! and grieves along with us. Yet, He knows, and we need to remember, that JOY comes in the morning! Blessings on your week, my friend!
Thanks, June! Your thoughtful insights are so welcome here, as is your sweet presence. Yes, God is definitely “okay with our lamenting and pouring out our sorrows to Him”, just as His Word encourages us to. It’s an awesome thought that God “grieves along with us”, yet He does, even as He knows He already has it all figured out, and how He will bless us in the mess and beyond. Amen! to “JOY comes in the morning.” I meant to add that verse here, so I am grateful you have included it in your comment. Blessings and love to you, dear friend! xo 💜
I love this, Joy. This reminds me of how often the Psalms start out with lament and end in a love song, as this beautiful song describes, too. Yes, that lament and soul reflection is so needful and leads us into a deeper awe for God’s love and care for us. It’s so comforting to know He weeps with us. We’re not in this alone, even though sometimes it feels like it. This is such a hope-filled truth – “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.” Thank you for encouraging my heart today. Love and blessings of lament leading into love songs!
Yes, they do, don’t they? Thanks for pointing that out, Trudy. It’s such a hopeful example for us to follow! It certainly is a great comfort to know God weeps with us. He doesn’t stand remote and distant from us, but is deeply immersed in the things of earth and all our individual worries and concerns. And as the Body of Christ, we are God’s mouthpiece, hands and feet offering His care, compassion and love to each other. We may not always realise it ourselves, yet we are ministers of God’s grace because He reaches out through our prayers, words and deeds. I’m so glad you were encouraged here today, dear friend. May your heart keep on singing love songs and praise to God as you spread His glorious hope abroad. Blessings, love and hugs to you! xo 💜