Hope in God
Let your cry of anguish be heard—and then remember.
The beautiful thing about the Psalms is that they are so applicable to our own lives, and they also give us guidance as we minister to others. There is a great variety in what the authors of the Psalms write: Messianic, praise, petition, confession of sin, lament, etc. The psalmists understood the joys of life, but they also experienced and wrote about life's sorrows and troubles.
We also understand joys and sorrows. Even now we can remember the euphoria we felt on our wedding days (or of someone else's), and we even now feel the bitter sting of a funeral for a person who left this earth too soon. We know the joys of triumphs and the anguish of defeat. We have tasted glory in job, family, and life, and we have palpably felt the grief of loss in each of those areas. We see progress in our Christian faith, and we see far too much defeat in the face of sin. In the face of these realities, we need to learn biblical lament—which is not equivalent to a Facebook rant, because it is imbued with hope.
We know all of this, and, though we often forget, God also knows our pain. Hebrews 4:14-16 reminds us that Jesus, our Great High Priest, can sympathize with our weaknesses as the man of sorrows.
Andrew Peterson depicts this cry of lament well in his song "The Silence of God."
And if a man has got to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they've got
When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
'Cause we all get lost sometimes …
There's a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold And he's kneeling in the garden, as silent as a stone All his friends ...
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Jeremy Kimble is Assistant Professor of Theology at Cedarville University and the author of '40 Questions About Church Membership and Discipline' (Kregel, 2017).