Sometimes only a Lament will do. Another 5 ½ weeks of this “Stay at Home Order?!” Grounded! No baseball! No fans in Lambeau Field?! No Sunday in-person worship and coffee fellowship with my Church Family? Continued separation from family in the nursing home or hospital. More job loss, income loss and uncertainty about the future. When will this Covid19 pandemic be over? When will the dying stop? Will it ever end? I just want life to be normal. Can’t you stop this God? Please just take us back to the way it was.
Sometimes only a Lament will do. Sorrow or grief fills our hearts and yearns for expression. Did you know that over 30 percent of the Book of Psalms are Laments? Deep, passionate expressions of corporate and personal grief are a part of the life story of the faithful in scripture. Psalm 42 was likely written during a time of exile when the people of Israel were separated from their homeland and their “normal” way of life. Verse 4 sums up the heart’s cry:
These things I rememberas I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praiseamong the festive throng.
It is human and ok to lament, to grieve. Even Jesus cried out a prayer of lament in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me.” I’m so glad that because Jesus walked through the valley of trial and sorrow, He knows what we are going through and walks with us even in our frustration and deep desperation.
These Biblical Laments were parts of relationship with God. They are prayers. When life is shattered all around us and we don’t know where to turn, we turn to God; we cry out to God. God is with us. May our Laments be cried out in trust and hope. Psalm 42 concludes with hope:
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.