Thursday, February 26, 2015

Walking in the Dark - On Lament



In this post, we decided to journey through darkness together.

In this next post, we started to figure out our approach - what to do with darkness?  Though we could try to avoid it and pretend like it doesn't exist, I think we all agreed it wouldn't be very helpful...

In THIS post, we talked about how often we view our darkness as a problem that we need to solve, or something broken that we need to fix.  However, as humans, we can only offer temporary fixes and shallow solutions, at best.

So.  I will assume we don't want to wallow in our darkness.  There must be more than this.  I know I don't want to stay here - stuck at the bottom of the canyon.  


I believe there is a way to journey upward, out of the valley and into the light through the discipline of lament.

Yes, lament...  

Do you know what lament is?  I am betting a lot of us have heard the word before, but may have vague ideas of what it actually is.  And it's no wonder...  Lament seems to avoided in our culture - and even in some of our churches.  

But, you guys...  I have found so, so, so much healing and comfort and freedom in lament over the years - and especially so, in the dark days my family has been living in recently.  I would like to invite you into my season of lament, in hopes of dispelling some false presumptions, and ultimately, with hopes that you, too, would find healing and comfort in the midst of your dark days

First, a preface.  I am no theologian.  I have never been to seminary or written any books.  I am not a professional counselor or psychiatrist.  I am only sharing what I have encountered in my own, personal experience throughout several seasons of darkness in the past 10 years of my life.  Take it for what it's worth!

I want to unpack what I believe lament is not, and then, not surprisingly, what I believe it is...


Lament is not hopelessness.  It is not necessarily equal to despair or depression.  It is not the same as giving up.  It is not a spiral downward.

Lament is not selfish and not self-centered.  It is not always self-pity.  It is not always whining.  It is not attention-seeking.

To lament is not to be weak.  

It is not to have little faith or to be lacking in trusting God.  It is not something to be embarrassed about, or necessarily even private about.  

Lament is not a "cry into the void."  It is not isolated and need not be a lonely thing.

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On the contrary, a lament is a cry directed to God.  It's when we bring our complaints and our hurts and fears and struggles and our darkness straight to Him.

In these ways, lament is a display of robust faith, knowing He alone can heal, and solve, and fix, and mend, and make things right, and make beauty out of ashes.

To lament is to be strong, courageous and confident in our identity before the Lord.  If we are truly His sons and daughters, surely we can approach our Daddy's throne with boldness.  It is seeing the brokenness of the world and in our hearts and saying, "I need You!"  Lament is the grace to bare our souls and take up our cases with God, that we may receive mercy and grace (and answers!) in our times of need.  This is similar to what Job says, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him, yet I will argue my ways to His face.

Rather than wallowing in our despair, lament is unto something.  Lament is blatant honesty.  It is authenticity.  It is transparency.  It is wrestling with God - telling Him, "I KNOW there is more than this!  This is NOT as things should be!  I won't let go until you bless me!"  It is fighting for more and journeying through the darkness and messiness and mire with endurance and with Him.

"At its very heart, a lament is an expression of trust in the character, power, and previous action of God—an expression of trust that looks beyond our current circumstances to what will be and what is—the reality behind the reality." (http://www.reformedworship.org/article/june-2010/my-god-my-god-why)

Lament is a hope-filled journey towards healing, wholeness, justice and freedom.

More to come.
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3 comments

  1. Lament can be a time in the wilderness. Something transpires, something ends. Then we wander around in the wilderness. Sometimes we do it well, other times not as much...

    We can reject circumstances and a season of lament; we can be indifferent in these seasons; and/or we can be thankful in these seasons of lament.

    My experience tells me there is a season for each, and even a progression, if we are moving toward an understanding that lament is a hope-filled journey towards healing, wholeness, justice and freedom.

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  2. YES! Seasons. Ecclesiastes 3, huh?

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  3. Blessed are those who mourn (their condition [recognize their heart's condition before the Lord and LAMENT it]), for they shall be comforted.

    ...Hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly (LAMENT?) for it.

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