How to Turn Weeping into Witnessing
A Journey through Lament
Psalm 130 is an amazing psalm because it’s only eight verses long and it moves on a four-stage journey through someone lamenting something bad that’s happening while moving to a place of being able to witness to how faithful God has been.
The reason it’s a fascinating example for a parent of a child who’s in difficulty—or anyone who’s in a situation of suffering of some sort—is that it begins with this guttural lament, this wailing. Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord. What’s going on?
It starts there with venting and lamenting to God instead of going online to say I had this terrible day. It starts by going to the Father and saying Come on, what’s going on? That was a really important thing for us to learn: wailing and weeping.
There’s assurance that morning is coming and redemption is on its way, but we don’t know when, and we just have to wait.
From Wailing to Worship, Waiting, and Witnessing
Then the psalm moves into a place of worship and begins to say With you, there’s forgiveness. We love you. We fear you. It moves from weeping into a place of worship. Yet at the same time, the sadness of the thing at the start of the psalm hasn’t disappeared.
Then from that place of worship it moves into a place of waiting, where the writer says I wait for you more than watchmen wait for the morning. I love this image because watchmen don’t worry whether the morning is coming. They just don’t know when it’s coming.
There’s assurance that morning is coming and redemption is on its way, but we don’t know when, and we just have to wait. We have to allow the awkwardness and the pain of the silence to carry on until we’re ready to be fixed, healed, and made better.
Finally, after the period of waiting, the psalmist is now in a position to tell people how great God is in a period of witnessing. This is a journey we all go on or should follow. We have to weep first.
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The Necessary Process of Grief
We can’t jump straight to It’s alright. God will be good. We can be sure he will, but that’s probably not where we should start. You’ve got to process grief. As you’re doing that, you can begin to worship and say Even though this is happening, we do trust you, God, and we thank you for your forgiveness of our sins, even if we’re worried and don’t know why this is still happening.
And then we wait. And after a while, it may be that we’re in a position to witness and say God has been good and faithful. As a psalm, this is a beautiful picture of how we go through the journey of processing things that have been sad for us to the point where we’re able to testify to the goodness of God in the end.
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