Lament – Hope Beyond Affliction
Lament is not a word we hear often any more. Certainly not in the secular world, but sadly not even in the Evangelical Christian world either.
David Guretzki, PhD, states that “Evangelical Christians have in many respects, forgotten how to lament. We have increasingly practiced a “harmful silence” (Michael Card). From youth, we are told to “be quiet”; mourning and lamenting, in our culture, is almost shunned, to the point of being embarrassed when someone really does lament.”
Yet in the bible there is a very different message! The Psalms are full of lament, both personal and corporate. They are sad songs written from the heart of the psalmist. Whether is it that he is ill, has suffered injustice; feels his own guilt, or the agony felt on behalf of another, they express the inner pain he senses. There is a lot of self-pity in these psalms, but the feelings are presented to God, and healing is found.
The needy person must take action and summon Jesus into their situation. Lament was intended to be verbal, not an ‘in your head’ kind of quiet action, but rather ‘out loud’.
Many people are surprised to discover that, with 57 lament psalms, this category is larger than any other type of psalms.
They all have the same form and would have been used in both personal and corporate worship. They each have five parts:
- A cry to God
- A complaint about what is wrong
- A confession of trust that God will deliver
- A petition calling on God to intervene
- A promise to praise God when deliverance comes
A definition of a biblical lament, especially in the Psalms, is a verbal complaint or cry of destitution to God in light of His promises to be a merciful God to His people. Therefore Biblical lament is almost always coupled with hope and praise.
As we journey through the uncertainties of life with the loss of jobs, the economic downturn, hopelessness in so many people around us and even within ourselves, this 4 week mini-series will shed some light on how God wants us to be secure in Him no matter what is happening around us.
Let’s courageously bring ‘Biblical Lament’ back into our culture and our personal lives, not only in word, but in -out loud – action!
–Wilma Vander Leek
Assistant to the Senior Pastor