The Lament

This is a moment we pray that projections are off…
The president just announce that projections for loss of life to be as high as 100,000 to 240,000! With cases and life loss almost doubling in our state in the last couple days, I hope we are set for the reality that it may be a very difficult following weeks for our country. Lent has been a tomb like experience with all of us in a sort “solitary confinement” in our homes. Maybe we wished it would be restful, but I get the feeling it’s more of anxious anticipation. Admit it- you want an “Easter” from the virus, but it’s a target that keeps moving…


When you don’t get the answer to “Why?”

To some degree we want to know why it’s happening. When we consider this on a more global scale, what could provoke God to allow something like this? But before we try to string together with logic as tight as a sieve, consider something better- The Lament. This is when you don’t get the answer to “Why?” The book of Job will lay out how hard that is for the answer to be withheld. Psalms is full of laments…
Psalm 6:2–3 Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. 3 My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?
That’s a struggle. We can’t even plan for an end when we don’t know when it will come.

Psalm 10:1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

Is it just hard to see God in all of this, or has he taken a step back?
Then there’s this passage…


Psalm 22:1  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?
Sounds familiar, right? It’s a lament. Calling to God, “Why?” and not getting the answer. I’m sure some are asking why now, “Why did this happen at the worst time for me” (as if there would be a better time for this). “Why can’t I catch a break?” “Why do so many have to suffer?” [Silence…]. 
But at the end of this Ps 22 lament is praise, describing how masterful the Lord will be in raising the lowly and humbling the mighty. What a statement of faith! To have no clue why you are going through and to suffer knowing a mighty God is right there and permitting it. That’s an ultimate act of trust.
You can stand in lament. You have permission to. God laments. God was grieved when he saw wickedness. Jesus cried about Lazarus, and don’t grieve the Holy Spirit (it can be done)! Lament is not getting your answer to “Why?” (and here is the second part of lament), but still holding on to God because Jesus has spoken all our laments. Most clearly Psalm 22 when Jesus spoke those on the cross (the ultimate lament). That didn’t mean God stopped being mighty or caring about us, or was reckless with creation. It’s just that knowing “Why?” isn’t so overwhelming when you know “Who” has lamented with you.
Lament of what has and might come from this and still praise the Lord for his saving goodness in Christ.