Posted by: Jo | May 3, 2013

Permission to Lament

“I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.” (Psalm 142:1 – 2)

imageLast week I was extolling the delight of shouting for joy to the heavenly Father and rejoicing in thanksgiving and praising his name. Many psalms spring to mind that are similar to the joyful praise exhibited in Psalm 100, but it is equally fascinating to discover that there are more psalms classified as ones of lament, rather than ones devoted to praise. I decided to take some time to revisit these psalms and to reflect on why this was so. It seems to be an oxymoron to say that my study of these psalms brought about a wonderful feeling of encouragement. A sense of peace and what surprised me the most, an urge to praise this God of all comfort who is ready to listen to his children no matter how painful the subject may be. I realized no emotion however raw, could not be brought out in the open to be shared with a loving and compassionate Father.

Billy Graham has a wonderful quote addressing the problem when trials and tribulations upset our well-being and sometimes our close walk with the Lord.

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayers with tears in my eyes and say, ‘O, God forgive me, or help me.’”

I find this quote very encouraging that a wonderful man of God, like Billy Graham, knows that there are times when he needs to cry out to the Heavenly Father and that he is able to rest in the knowledge that he has the permission to lament before the sympathetic ear of the Creator.image

One of the Psalms that tells of the wonderful freedom of lamenting before the Lord, is Psalm 13. This Psalm embodies some of the most deep seated of emotions; anger, despair and sorrow. David erupts in anger towards a God who he thinks has forgotten him;

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1)

By allowing his anger to overflow, he is not in fear of retribution and implores God to look at his suffering. How many of us have wrestled like David with ugly thoughts, perhaps frightened to share with others in case they misunderstand?

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (Psalm 13:2)

Not so, David. He begs God to answer him.

“Look on me and answer, O Lord my God…” (Psalm 13:3)

The encouraging theme I found in reading the Psalms of lament was the fact that it is not a sin to grieve, despair or even complain. There seems to be great freedom to share ones’ innermost feelings with the Heavenly Father and imagewhen we do we are flooded with a deep sense of peace as we remember we can trust him to guide us through whatever is besetting us. David ends the Psalm with a burst of confidence.

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:5 – 6)

So when I read these beautiful words of the Psalmists and I am facing difficult situations where I desperately need God’s intervention, I take great consolation in knowing that I can share whatever hurt or feeling known to mankind with the sympathetic ear of the God of all Comfort.

Praise You In This Storm

I was sure by now

That You would have reached down

And wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day

But once again, I say, Amen and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls

I barely hear Your whisper through the rain, “I’m with you”

And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands

And praise the God who gives and takes away

And I’ll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands

For You are who You are no matter where I am

And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand

You never left my side and though my heart is torn

I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind

You heard my cry, You raised me up again

But my strength is almost gone

How can I carry on if I can’t find You

As the thunder rolls

I barely hear Your whisper through the rain, “I’m with you”

And as You mercy falls I raise my hands

And praise the God who gives and takes away

And I’ll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands

For You are who You are no matter where I am

And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand

You never left my side and though my heart is torn

I will praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes unto the hills

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord

The Maker of Heaven and Earth

I lift my eyes unto the hills

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord

The Maker of Heaven and Earth

And I’ll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands

For You are who You are no matter where I am

And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand

You never left my side and though my heart is torn

I will praise You in this storm

And though my heart is torn

I will praise You in this storm

– Casting Crowns, 2005 (https://castingcrowns.com/node/629)

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Responses

  1. […] Permission to Lament (godspeaking.wordpress.com) […]

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  2. […] Permission to Lament (godspeaking.wordpress.com) […]

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  3. “How Long O Lord” (Psalm 13) Is one of my favorite songs when I’m in a tough spot. I love that this psalm moves from “How long…” to “But I trust in Your unfailing love.” We’ve got to get to that place before we leave off talking to the Lord or we’re sunk!

    Thank you for this wonderful post.
    \o/
    Praise Jesus!

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  4. What a wonderful comforting message, just what I needed. Thanks Jo..Ruby

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