- a passionate expression of grief or sorrow
- an expression of regret or disappointment; a complaint
There is a book in the bible titled Lamentations. This book is full of passages that adhere to the definitions above. Expressions of sorrow, disappointment, and sadness from God's chosen people. I promise it is there, I also promise there are other books in the bible (particularly in the Old Testament) that feature complaints and grief to God. So what does that mean?
It means it is safe for me to express those same feelings to God. It means it is okay for me to tell the Lord that I am disappointed. I can tell the Lord that I am sad and I feel He does not see my sadness. It means I can tell the Lord I am angry with Him. It means I can grieve the loss of something or someone and tell the Lord that I am grieving. It means I can tell the Lord that I am upset with Him. I have the freedom to go to the Lord and tell Him that I am unhappy and I feel He us just watching me be unhappy. It means I can tell the Lord that I am frustrated with Him because I feel like He is not moving.
I want to look at scripture and see what has been expressed to the Lord by those who came before me. Turn with me, if you will, to Lamentations 3:4 (a little background about Lamentations: the author is thought to be Jeremiah. The book is written to express the grief of the fall of Jerusalem). In this specific chapter and verse the author is saying God made their body waste away and their bones broken. They are expressing sadness maybe, anger maybe? They are saying what they feel is because of the Lord.
I am not sure about you, but there have been a few times I felt the Lord was to blame for what I was feeling and experiencing. I felt that if there was a finger to point, it would be pointed at Him. But I never expressed those feelings, at least not right away. I did not know I could.
Not only did I not know it was okay to express those feelings to the Lord, I did not think I should feel those ways toward Him. Why should I be upset and feel angry toward the one who created my very being? To the one who thought of me before my birth and sent His son to die for the sins I had not even committed.
How could I tell the Lord I was upset? I could not. But that is not the truth, I read Lamentations, Psalm, Job; in those books I see that the chosen ones of the Almighty God have cried out to Him in sadness, in disappointment and anger and in grief and have told the Mighty One, the Holy One, the giver of Life, how they felt. They did not hold back. What was the response of the Lord? Compassion. Love. Acceptance. Empathy. He opened His arms and said "I hear you".
The Lord hears me. I have struggled to lament, as I still feel like I have no reason to feel those things towards the Lord. But the reality I remind myself of, is that He already knows I feel those ways. He knows I am upset and angry and frustrated. He wants me to come to Him and tell Him. I am learning that when I go to the Lord with those feelings I am opening myself up deeper and I am being more vulnerable with the Lord. I am showing Him that I trust Him.
I am saying, "Lord I know that you are good and you want nothing but good things for me, I know that you love me and that you care for me far beyond what I can comprehend but I am coming to you with these feelings because I know you know me. I know you know my thoughts before I think them. I know that you knew how I would feel before this moment, and I trust you. I want to tell you. I want to speak to you about these things. I want to grow deeper with you. I want to be vulnerable with you".
And to that, to the moments I lament and tell the Lord what is on my heart, He receives me just the same as when I sing praises. He receives me just the same as when I give thanksgiving.
As I am growing to be more okay with lamenting, the Lord is showing me that my feelings are not meant to be pint up and held onto, that just leads to a hard heart. I encourage you to lament when you feel resentment, anger, sadness or grief toward the Lord. It can be freeing if done with vulnerability.
I will leave us with a prayer,
Father I thank you that you care for me. I thank you that I can come to you with my feelings, those good and those not so good. I am thankful that you hear me and that you encourage me to come to you with those feelings. I thank you for the deepened intimacy that comes with being vulnerable and honest with you. I pray that as I lament to you, you will wrap me in your arms and tell me you hear me. I pray that at the end of it, you will help me see the lies and accept the truth. That you care, you love me and you only desire the best for me.
I pray all of these things in Jesus' name, Amen