A lament or lamentation is a passionate expression of grief, often in music, poetry, or song form. The grief is most often born of regret, or mourning. Laments can also be expressed in a verbal manner, where the participant would lament about something they regret or someone they've lost, usually accompanied by wailing, moaning and/or crying. (wikipedia.org)
Other than the fact that it’s a book in the Bible, I didn’t know much about this term lament for a long time. It goes beyond sadness. It doesn’t point to one tragic incident so much as a presence of grief.
The bitterness one still has toward divorce long after the papers are signed.
The blame a parent casts because his or her child has gone wayward.
An ongoing void inside from the loss of a loved one.
When weariness sets in due to a hard-fought battle with illness.
Our outrage at the loss of safety we feel in this fallen world.
That sinking feeling we get when it seems like our enemy, while he most certainly will not win the war, has marked another victory.
I like this definition of lament because of the actions it calls us to. Express your lamentation. We’re all going to experience lament. It’s what you do with it that makes all the difference. Will you stuff it deep down inside? Will you shake your fist at God and let him have it? Will you allow it to leave you cynical and bitter?
All of these responses are valid and acceptable for a time. But God calls us to more. That’s what I want to talk about here.
After we acknowledge the feelings, the collective humanity in our experience, we need to find a healthy way to express it. Get it out. Release it to his glory.
Look at the ways suggested in the definition. Music. Poetry. Song. (See the majority of Psalms. Lamentations as I mentioned.) Also wailing, moaning and or crying. Might I add therapy?
There’s sweet grace found at the point of release.
I’ve noticed the Christians I most admire have one thing in common. It’s not a perfect life. Don’t even go there. They’ve instilled this one basic truth deep inside their being.
It’s the ellipses following every circumstance in their life.
My husband may have left our family behind… But God.
I have a child who is making some pretty poor choices right now… But God.
Some days, the loss I feel threatens to overwhelm me… But God.
The illness might not be defeated this side of glory... But God.
There aren’t words to explain all of the devastation we experience in our communities, our world… But God.
It seems the devil has a pretty good foothold in things some days… But God.
Scripture reminds us of this truth throughout the Old and New Testament.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Ephesians 2:4-5
And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God. Luke 16:15
I’ll be the first to admit this life and the world we live in offer cause for lamenting. Don't you see that's why we're needed?! We have The Answer living inside of us.
I've linked up with Addie Zimmerman over at her blog for this one. Her new book, "Night Driving" comes out this week and she's hosting a synchroblog as part of the launch. Head on over and read some other great writing!