Pastor Jim Stultz
The Healing Power of Lament
Do you know what Job, David and Jeremiah have in common? They all had periods of time in their lives in which they underwent serious suffering. Job experienced the loss of his children, his possessions and his health. David had to hide from Saul and later experienced the heartbreak of his own son trying to kill him. Jeremiah preached to deaf ears as he prepared his people for the Babylonian invasion. They despised him so much that he was thrown into a muddy pit and ridiculed. These three all expressed to God their pain in a lament. A lament is a prayer in pain that leads to trust.
Job gave voice to the Lord his strong emotions with these words: "Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; then I would have been at rest” (Job 3:11-13). David gave expression to his lament with these words in Psalm 13:1-6: “How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed against him"; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me”.
Our great God is open to hear the cries of His children. It is biblical to express to our Lord the strong emotions, the questions, and the confusion we feel when we are suffering. Lament can be a path to praise as we are led through our brokenness and disappointment. If you have ever asked God why, or cried out to Him: “where are You?” you are expressing lament. Cling to His grace, He loves you dearly and remember, there is healing power in lament.