A Category for Complaint
The quotation of Psalm 22 from Jesus on the cross is a prime example of the value of lament. Here we have the Son of God who knows the overall plan of redemptive history. He knows what’s going to happen. And yet, the pain of the moment causes him to quote this lament psalm and say, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Lament opens the heart and opens the voice to tell God what’s really happening inside of our souls.
That helps to show us that the emotions of feeling abandonment—even if you know the arc of what God is going to do—are still real and we still have to deal with those. So many Christians think that because I feel this, I shouldn’t talk to God about it. And so, many Christians don’t have a category for complaint—what it means to humbly and biblically take our sorrows to the Lord and say, “God, I don’t understand why” or “I feel like this and even though I know that it’s not ultimately true, it feels true in the moment.”
Grief Isn’t Tame
Grief isn’t tame and lament helps us to navigate through this complicated arena of our emotions and allows us to open our hearts to tell God what we feel. The reality is that silence is a killer when it comes to our spiritual life. Lament opens the heart and opens the voice to tell God what’s really happening inside of our souls.
In the same way that Jesus cried out and quoted Psalm 22, I encourage believers all the time to quote the lament psalms if they don’t know what to say. Oh, how many of them have become my own words as I’ve said to God things that are right in the Bible—in order to help me move from my complaint to trusting and hoping in his goodness.
The notion that lament isn't familiar is actually an indictment of the state of the American church.
Lament is the biblical language for people who feel like God is distant.
No one sets out to learn lament. But once you find it, you're so thankful because there's grace that God can give you when the dark clouds of hardship and pain roll into your life.