Lament… This is probably not a word that is on the tip of many of our tongues in today’s day and age. It’s a word that we associate with the Bible perhaps, but really, what is lamenting and what does it look like for us today?
To be honest, I didn’t really connect well with the word lament, and I’m sure there are many of us that don’t. David, the author of many Psalms, was a man who had a deep connection to the Father and knew what it meant to truly lament. If you know his story you will know he had SO much to grieve and lament over. Pain and sorrow followed him for so much of his life, yet he was not a man of sorrow. We are told of so many stories where joy overflowed out of him, to a degree that he even ran around in his underwear in joyous celebration of God.
What then is the point of lamenting? Why is it given so much air-time in the Psalms and throughout the whole Bible? Even Romans 8 tells us how creation and the whole earth is groaning (lamenting) awaiting “the redemption of our bodies”. Desiringgod.org (John Piper) says “Laments turn toward God when sorrow tempts you to run from Him.” Lamenting is an invitation to pour out our hurt, pain and sorrow and to trust that God is big enough to handle us in our mess. It is a powerful act of trusting God with our deep fears and disappointments, with our grief and hurt, often in times when we feel like bursting from carrying it all on our own shoulders.
When we allow ourselves to lament, to truly grieve in the presence of our Father, our souls are freed to fully go to the deep (and sometimes dark) places with Jesus where we find healing and in true fatherly fashion, He begins to replace our mourning with dancing.
When we allow ourselves to lament, to truly grieve in the presence of our Father, our souls are freed to fully go to the deep (and sometimes dark) places with Jesus where we find healing and in true fatherly fashion, He begins to replace our mourning with dancing. He exchanges our sorrow for joy. That is why David could dance amid the chaos. That is why so many of his Psalms ended with praise and declaring the goodness of God. He had been there before many a time. He knew the pain and loss, but he also knew the kindness of God. For him that made it worth it.
Lamenting has become real for me. Last year I experienced something extremely painful and felt completely helpless. Yet amid my anger, pain and disappointment I was given an invitation by God to go into the depths of my hurt with Him. To allow His Spirit to really meet with me at my core.
So why lament?
Because lamenting is worship!
I once heard someone say that we will only ever get to offer God the beautiful kind of worship that comes from a place of sorrow and pain while we are on this earth. So, let’s make the most of it while we’re here.
If you feel like you’re in that place today, take a moment right now to invite God into your sorrow and pain. Listen to this song and allow God into your heart. If you would like prayer, click here.
Written by Clayten Gouws, CBN South Africa’s Operation Blessing Manager.