Today I shared a couple of passages about lament. For many of us, this is a real thing right now. Lamenting is found in, literally, its own book in the Old Testament, Lamentations. Jeremiah kept a record of his pain. He wrote of the atrocities done to Judah. He also grieved for the youngest victims of these events:
“My heart is poured out on the ground…because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city…their lives ebb away in their mother’s arms.”
(Lamentations 2:10-13, 18-19)
Now, as author Tim Gustafson writes, we might expect Jeremiah to reject God in the face of this suffering, but instead, he urges the survivors to, “pour out your heart in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children.”
It’s good to pour out our hearts to God. Lament is a crucial part of being human. God grieves with us.
But lament is different that complaint. Ken Wytsma and A.J. Swoboda, in their book, Redeeming How We Talk, remind us that lament cries out to God and includes repentance, while complaining tends to blame or criticize. Lament seeks God, while sometimes our complaining and self-pity condemns God. Lament names what is broken and seeks God’s intervention instead of just crying, “unfair.”
Name a term used in a game of bowling…
Congratulations to Isaiah from Bellville, who guessed the top two answers and wins the WNZR Game On t-shirt.
Thanks for listening!
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