Finding Spiritual Strength Through Lamenting

Last week, lament was introduced as a concept, an opportunity to unabashedly express our “soul-piercing” emotional pain, sufferings and losses to our loving God. We humbly cry out, spiritually tearing off our clothes, shaking our fists while wailing and sobbing. Like the biblical King David, we ask, “God, don’t you see me?” “Do something, make this hurt, this pain go away God”. “Lord, look at me and answer!”.

Why is lamenting so important during this time of crisis? This world seems consumed by self-sufficiency and self-centeredness with its “me-first” antics. God seems like he has been pushed to the fringes of our American culture so we can live life our way. When strife and stress occur, we cry out for our “spiritual genie” to rescue us. Is this fair to us or God? Let’s reframe this way of thinking, what if we pursue holiness through faith and obedience in God? When life unveils inescapable challenges and offers mind-blowing choices blurring our desire or vision of Christ, pursue God. You are faced with polarized views and unjust decisions, call out to God via the Holy Spirit. During this pandemic which has upended and rearranged our priorities, routines, landscapes and perhaps, rattled our faith, find God. For me, when looking around, I believe we can use lamenting as a form of spiritual reckoning to re-connect with God. Lament to gain a clearer perspective of His majesty and glory. We can admit we are not in control and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Lamenting brings us closer to God out of our heartfelt needs.

Lamenting is such a powerful way to mend our souls and bring relief to our tired bodies and overwhelmed spirits. Have you ever been spiritually emptied? We are dragging our hurts, fears and anguish around instead of taking them to God. Our spiritual knees are buckling and our eyes are dry from crying. Lamenting helps us to remember God’s promises, His presence and His faithfulness.   

Connecting with God while lamenting is soul-cleansing. Personally, lamenting is like a coping strategy allowing me to vent my feeling and anxiety in a positive and purposeful manner. During laments you’re seeking God’s guidance while asking about the purposes of your pain and suffering. You’re connecting while wondering how God has brought you through previous times of stress. Discovering our spiritual resiliency affirms our ability to persevere with God’s grace. We’re not in control nor are we responsible for all things. Pursuing God while lamenting helps us to let go of our notion of control. We are placing our burdens in God’s sacred care to handle according to His will and purpose. Lamenting allows us to recall our blessings – what has God already done for me? Spiritually crying out to God is a great way to evaluate our relationship with God? Do my personal values align with God’s values? Am I living like an image bearer of God? How do I find God’s joy & peace in this suffering? What will healing look like?

Lamenting involves a whole-person approach, so take care of you. Develop a prayer life. Study God’s word. Learn how to take slow, deep breaths especially when confronted by something stressful. Think by counting to 5 or 10 before reacting unless you are being threatened, then escape. Be still – reframe from letting intrusive and distracting thoughts invade your lament space! Use self-talk to validate your situation, is this situation really happening? Is this event real? Recount positive outcomes where people lamented in the Bible. Ruth, a Moabite, clung to Naomi and witnessed God’s loving care of Naomi and herself during their tragic losses. Know your stress tolerance, what is your tipping point between being ok and stressed out? Are you currently safe from harm? Appreciate laughter and humor. Get enough rest to reduce the impact sleep deprivation has on one’s stress tolerance. Maintain healthy eating and exercise for your age and stage of life. Connect with God-focused believers. Develop a positive support system. Value your circle of friends and family. Seek help, talk to someone you trust. If you are thinking about suicide or harming or hurting yourself, reach out now to the local Suicide Prevention Crisis Helpline: 1.866.205.5229 or 480.784.1500

Some Scriptures of Lament:  Books of Ruth (Chapter 1), Psalms (especially Chapters 10, 13, 22, 77 & 86) and Lamentations.

Prayer: Dear Abba Father, people are searching and looking for a rescuer, a deliverer. Help us to realize that Christ has already conquered the grave and the Holy Spirit in-dwells your people of promise and faith. Console us with your peace, hope and courage to abide in you during your silence. We know by your promises you will provide, guide and lead us through these dark days to gladness and joy!  All things happen according to your will and design. Thank you for your presence, unfailing grace and mercy. Amen.