Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament

By Mark Vroegop, Foreword by Joni Eareckson Tada

Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament

By Mark Vroegop, Foreword by Joni Eareckson Tada

Where do you turn when the dark clouds of pain, suffering, and loss roll into your life? In a broken world, difficult trials can lead quickly to discouragement and despair—even for Christians. But the Bible sets forth an oft-neglected practice for dealing with such trials: lament. To lament is to turn to God in honest, desperate prayer, giving voice to the reality of our emotions—as intense and tumultuous as they may be. Ultimately, lament is an expression of faith in the God who hears our cries and responds with mercy and grace. Drawing on examples from the Bible and his own story of loss, pastor Mark Vroegop walks through steps of lament (Turn, Complain, Ask, and Trust) to show what lament is, why it is important, and how to enter into it—helping readers learn to live between the poles of God's goodness and the pain of a hard life.

Read Chapter 1


Author:

Mark Vroegop

Mark Vroegop is the lead pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis and the author of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament, the ECPA 2020 Christian Book of the Year, and Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation. He’s married to Sarah, and they have four children and a daughter-in-law.

Product Details

Title: Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy
Subtitle: Discovering the Grace of Lament
Published: March 31, 2019
ISBN-10: 1-4335-6148-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-6148-1
Category: Christian Living
Retail Price: $15.99
Binding: Paperback
Trim: 5.25 in x 8.0 in
Page Count: 224

Table of Contents

Foreword: Joni Eareckson Tada
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Life in a Minor Key | A Personal Journey

Part 1: Learning to Lament | Psalms of Lament 

  1. Keep Turning to Prayer | Psalm 77
  2. Bring Your Complaints | Psalm 10
  3. Ask Boldly | Psalm 22
  4. Choose to Trust | Psalm 13

Part 2: Learning from Lament | Lamentations

  1. A Broken World and a Holy God | Lamentations 1-2
  2. Hope Springs from Truth Rehearsed | Lamentations 3
  3. Unearthing Idols | Lamentations 4
  4. A Roadmap to Grace | Lamentations 5

Part 3: Living with Lament Personal and Community Applications

  1. Making Lament Personal
  2. Let Us Lament

Conclusion: Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy | The Journey Ahead
Appendix 1 Twenty Complaints
Appendix 2 Psalms of Lament
Appendix 3 Learning-to-Lament Worksheet Appendix 4 But, Yet, And
Bibliography
General Index
Scripture Index

Endorsements

“I had never read a book like this before. If you are hurting or trying to help someone who is, or if you are attempting to lead your church to recover and experience what God’s Word teaches about lament, this is a book you will want to read.”
Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Born in a father’s grief and marked with a pastor’s wisdom, Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy teaches each of us and the church how to pray along the journey of loss and despair. Vroegop presents biblical guidelines for bringing honest complaint and bold petition before God and for choosing to steadfastly trust in the One whose mercies never end.”
M. Daniel Carroll R., Blanchard Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

“Too often Christians feel the pressure to pretend the gospel diminishes pain, while others lament their pain void of biblical truth and hope. I have longed for years for a book to demonstrate a balance on this issue. Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy captures beautifully the unique and powerful grace of the gospel in Christian lament. The book is well written, winsome, and refreshingly transparent. I wept as I read it.”
Brian Croft, Senior Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky; Founder, Practical Shepherding

“Lament is the language of exiles and aliens, of the suffering and downcast. But it is also the language of a people who know how the story ends. This book teaches us that pouring out our complaint to God is an act of faith and hope. In a world where sorrow has been politicized and death hidden away, let Mark Vroegop teach you the Christian language of lament that gives voice to our sadness and our desperate need for God.”
Abigail Dodds, author, (A)Typical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ

“Until Christ returns or calls us home, lament will be our God-given language for finding faith to endure in a fallen world. This book will help the church become more fluent in the language of lament and thus more conversant with the God who has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.”
Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition; author, Blind Spots

“When our lives encounter inevitable pain, we need perspective and power to survive and thrive through the weight of the burden. Vroegop masterfully converges his own testimony of anguish with rich insight into the nature and promises of our God, who weeps, grieves, and cares deeply for his children. This book will serve as a toolbox and treasure to your soul.”
Daniel Henderson, President, Strategic Renewal International; author, Transforming Prayer and Old Paths, New Power

“This book gives real hope to those in deep valleys. Vroegop challenges us to speak up through tears and tell God what hurts in a raw and real way that results in even deeper reverence. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to hope against hope in a God who listens even when we complain, who answers even when we doubt.”
Garrett Higbee, Director of Pastoral Care, Great Commission Collective

“Lament is not just tears or pain in our own soul; lament is inviting Christ to come alongside our casket of loss. Lament is not just a prayer; it is a prayer expressing our pain in our fallen world. Lament does not stop at pain; through Christ’s comforting presence, lament enriches our trust in our Father of compassion. Anyone who wants to learn biblically and experientially how to candidly call out to our comforting Father would benefit greatly from this book.”
Robert W. Kelleman, Vice President of Strategic Development and Academic Dean, Faith Bible Seminary; author, God’s Healing for Life’s Losses and Grief: Walking with Jesus

“Profound. Tender. Strengthening. Crucial. Wise. This book helped me see something that’s basic to Christianity that I hadn’t fully grasped as basic. I began rereading it with my wife before finishing it the first time. Every pastor, counselor—and indeed, every Christian—should read it.”
Jonathan Leeman, Elder, Cheverly Baptist Church, Bladensburg, Maryland; Editorial Director, 9Marks 

“Mark Vroegop reminds us that grief and sorrow are not the denial of God’s presence or a lack of faith in God’s sovereign care. God calls us to lament, to give expression to our pain and sorrow, which in turn leads to authentic hope, healing, and health. Vroegop shepherds our hearts and shows us the path to discovering ‘deep mercy in dark clouds.’ This book is a hope-filled treasure!”
Crawford W. Loritts Jr., Senior Pastor, Fellowship Bible Church, Roswell, Georgia; author, Unshaken; Host, Living a Legacy

“This book shouts to us from the Psalms and Lamentations: It’s okay to cry, to grieve, to wonder why, and to come to God with our doubts and fears. Our heavenly Father can handle it. And in the end, he shows us grace and mercy. This book is a wonderful antidote to the feel-good, happy, and superficial platitudes of so much of modern evangelicalism.”
Erwin W. Lutzer, Pastor Emeritus, The Moody Church, Chicago

“There were seasons in my life when I really needed this book but did not have it. So I have read it now with both delight and regret: delight that it is finally here and regret that it was not here sooner. I have found myself saying, ‘I wish I had known that,’ or ‘I wish I had done that.’ The sooner you read this book, the less you will say those things to yourself!”
Jason C. Meyer, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis

“Mark Vroegop winsomely introduces us to the lost art of lament. From the outside, the world of lament looks dark and foreboding, but as you enter it, light will shine on your soul in startling ways.”
Paul E. Miller, author, A Praying Life and J-Curve: Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life

“Mark Vroegop has written a book that is a gift to the church—both to the one suffering and to the one who wants to help the sufferer. Through his own personal loss and practice of lament, he helpfully guides us in lament, showing us that to lament is Christian and to lament is to find hope even in the greatest pain.”
Courtney Reissig, author, Teach Me to Feel and Glory in the Ordinary

“Vroegop’s message is forged out of his personal journey, which validates the high value of healing through lament. But more importantly, he takes us to key passages of Scripture that assure us that God welcomes our agonizing cries of complaint as a step toward his grace and strength in our time of need.”
Joseph M. Stowell, President, Cornerstone University; author, The Upside of Down and Redefining Leadership

“This book is born out of personal tragedy and loss. It is a gold mine of help for those who have suffered deep wounds from loss. Mark Vroegop masterfully blends his personal life, pastoral experience, and biblical exposition into a volume that shows how God’s grace in lament and the cry of the heart in prayer teach you to trust God’s purposes.”
John D. Street, Chair, Graduate Department in Biblical Counseling, The Master’s University and Seminary; President, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

“If you allow it, this book will draw tears, unveil smiles, heal old wounds, increase your biblical understanding, and bring peace. Mark Vroegop gracefully points the way to the biblical light of mercy and hope amid misery and despair. Your pain can become a platform for helping others rather than a pit of self-pity, and this book will help you arrive at that better destination.”
Thomas White, President, Cedarville University

“I am intensely grateful for Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy and would place it among the most important and influential books I’ve read in the past few years. If you are going through hard times, this book may provide more insight and comfort than any other book except for the Bible. If you are in ministry, please allow Vroegop to help you discover how ‘the grace of lament’ can serve the many hurting people in your congregation.”
Donald S. Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Family Worship; Praying the Bible; and Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

“God has lovingly immersed one of his outstanding Bible expositors into the depths of human sorrow so that the rest of us can learn from him the important grace of lament. Through the tragic loss of his daughter, Mark has reflected deeply, studied the Bible carefully, and written beautifully to help us all walk more closely with our Savior.”
Sandy Willson, Interim Senior Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama

“I have watched as Mark Vroegop and his wife have navigated the difficult journey of loss, and I have witnessed in their lives the sweet fruit of godly lament. Vroegop provides a hope-filled guide to experiencing the mercy of God in the darkest nights, through the vital, healing grace of lament.”
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author; Teacher and Host, Revive Our Hearts