Monday, December 8, 2014

The Language of Lament


Several years ago my friend Mags shared “The Lesson of Honoring God with Our Honest Hearts in the Language of Lament” from the book of Habakkuk. She said that Habakkuk had lived with the legacy of good king Josiah--who was killed by a random arrow. Then Jehoiakim was placed on the throne--a wicked king who brought in the gods of Egypt, and all the good Josiah had done was lost in months. Habakkuk's question was “How could God allow that to happen?

She said that Habakkuk's first complaint was “God, you're not doing anything.” His second complaint was “God, what are you doing?” (an invasion by the Babylonians, really, God?)

God simply responds, “Will you trust me in this?” The envelope He gives with the invitation to trust is different for every person. It can come in the form of a broken relationship, a tragedy, a disappointment, or an unmet expectation...


I want to share two blog posts by friends who have gone through/are currently going through very trying times, because they beautifully share not only their heart cries to God in the midst of pain, but also give practical insights as to how the Body of Christ can best come alongside those who are deeply hurting: by listening to their individualized language of lament without judging, without trying to minimize or ignore the pain, and without making blanket statements about suffering that aren't helpful.


Iris says, “I am grateful for those who embrace the dark chapters of my life without trying to put a spin on them. I am most comforted when others stick with me in the uneasy tension between sorrow and hope. It is an agonizing place to be, but I’ve found that that’s where my healing begins. The eternally present God is here in the “right now” of my pain. I only wish more people would join us there.


Jenn says, “I need to get over the fact that it's us again, and that it's not about me. It puts suffering and pain into a community paradigm not just in the individual journey. The family of God together calls out in pain. We wrestle with these questions together. Honestly. It just happens to be our turn.” 


God, I pray that you would help us all in the midst of our trials, to say something like this in our personalized language of lament, “I don't know what You're doing, but I want to trust You in this. And I want to believe You are good.

God, I pray that you would help us to come alongside those in our lives who are hurting by embracing the darkness with them “in the uneasy tension between sorrow and hope.”

To hear You speak tenderly to our grieving hearts, as the storm rages on and the doubts/anger/fears flood in: “Will you trust me in this?

I love Mags' summary of Habakkuk's deep wrestling with a God he struggled to understand: “Even though. Even there. Immanuel.”


2 comments:

  1. Hey Pine Family! We all hope you are well and thinking of you! Hopefully you'll come and visit sometime soon.... Love, the Vanderlaan Family (via Esther)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Esther, We've been thinking of you too! Hope we can visit you maybe next summer :) Love to your whole family from us.

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