Sometimes I wonder about lament. The Bible contains a book of Lamentations, a significant portion of the Psalms are expressing lament, and yet I run into so many Christians who struggle with the notion that as “good” Christians we must be happy. If one happens to chance upon a Christian Bookstore, the overwhelming theme is one of tranquil, happy, peaceful, milquetoast relationship with the divine. And yet, in the context of our hurting, broken world, is this authentic? Jesus has come that we might have joy (John 15:11), and life (John 10:10), but nowhere is there a promise of happiness or life without trial. We are promised in Revelation 21 that there will come a “new heaven and a new earth” where “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, tNIV) But we do not live there yet.
My hope? That we as Christians can join one another in genuine lament at the brokenness of our world, in our lives and circumstances. That we could understand that God joins us in grieving for the pain and tragedy of our current world, and desires ultimately to bring wholeness and restoration. I hope and pray that instead of offering Christian-jargon platitudes in the face of the suffering we encounter, that instead we could learn to sit with the hurting, to sit with our own pain, and bring that before God. This Sunday, we’re having a prayer and worship service at Quest, with times for confession, lament, prayer for healing, and a time of thanksgiving. Thanks be to God that as the body of Christ we can praise, worship, give thanks, and lament together. It takes vulnerability, a willingness to be broken before God and community, but it is beautiful to experience this authentic expression of where we’re at to God together.