A Hard-Bought Lesson
No one sets out to learn to lament and I didn’t either. Fifteen years ago, the Lord, in his hard providence, put my wife and I on a journey where a few days before delivery, we had a stillborn baby daughter named Sylvia. That then set us into a season of multiple miscarriages and a false-positive pregnancy. In the middle of this deep, gut-wrenching pain, I was still trying to pastor people.
The category of lament began to serve the church in a way that was just stunning to me.
What happened through this journey was that I began to discover a number of things. I began to discover that people were uncomfortable with our pain. I began to talk about how we were processing our pain through reading lament psalms, and people began to come out of the woodwork. I began to teach on books like Job and particularly the dark psalms, the psalms of lament. As I began to walk people through the book of Lamentations, suddenly there was interest.
In Service of the Church
The category of lament began to serve the church in a way that was just stunning to me. I also came to realize that many of us don’t understand what it means to be in exile. Lament is the language of exile.
Through a personal journey, through pastoral ministry, through trying to help grieving and hurting people, and frankly just trying to figure out how to make sense of my own struggles of pain and grief, I backed into this category of lament. 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.
The Apostle Paul remembered who he was in Christ. He remembered that beating within him is none other than Christ himself—the indwelling Christ with all his resources of power and love and joy.
Be sure that a theological error is not the root of your distress. Especially have a solid understanding of the covenant of grace and the riches of mercy revealed in Christ.
Lament is the biblical language for people who feel like God is distant.