The Lost Art of Lament

Perhaps it is time to recover the lost art of lament.
The amount of anxiety and grief in the world right now is palpable. The relational, emotional and financial fallout from this crisis will echo for years to come. For most, there is no Plan B play-book for most.

So what of spirituality? Well, some may call me a sadist or deranged but I believe that most of us are positioned right now for the kind of transformation that no conference, sermon, book or therapy can give (although they may assist). But, to the super-positive God-is-in-control well-crafted fake-mask-wearing largely-Evangelical folks out there, here’s the catch, you must give way to the disappointment, the grief, the frustration, and learn the lost art of lamenting.

Sound a little counter culture?? Yep, it is… now anyway. You know, nearly half of the Psalms in our common Christian bible are songs of lament. Poems recited in dark places where truth is illuminated, and vindication is found.

Yet today, we seldom hear a song or sing of how God disappointed us and has disappeared at the time we needed the most help. Yes, in most modern version of Christianity, it’s safe to say we’ve done a shit job of admitting when things really shit. [ In fact, some of you probably need to say ‘shit’ a bit more. ? (Ph3:8) ] Go and read many of the Psalms, including Psalm 22, they all start with a brutally honest heart, e.g. “My God. My God. Why have you forsaken me.”

If we dare to be honest, most of us can pinpoint the most spiritually transformative moments in our lives to a season of loss, tragedy and disappointment. It’s HOW IT WORKS! God speaks to us IN the desert. We find and fight our selves in desert seasons. (Even the Hebrew word for desert ‘Midbar’ has deep nuance of God speaking to us as we are drawn out.)

Friends, there is treasure to be found in this season. I’m no hero or premium example but I can say, having gone through loss, bankruptcy, burnout, betrayal and a whole lot of shit, it wasn’t until I allowed myself to enter the darkness before me, instead of wasting time trying to light religious lamps of denial, that I discovered a co-suffering nail-scarred lover in the desert. I discovered a tribe of terribly authentic desert dwellers I call some of my closest friends.

Anyway, some musings for today. I actually spoke on this in Jan this year at a local gathering. Here is the mp3 bootleg audio link in comments for those of you who want to learn more and discover how sanctification lost its way in Evangelicalism.

 

2 Comments

  1. Ken Perkins July 13, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you for speaking truth without facade.

  2. Jasmine Willadsen October 22, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Hi David,
    I wanted to mention that even though Psalm 22 does start with ‘my God, my God, why have you forsaken me’, it also includes this:

    I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you.
    23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
    Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
    24 For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
    he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help.

    God doesn’t disappear or disappoint us. He only does that if we turn away from Him or walk in rebellion.
    God is near to the broken hearte (Psalm 34:18)

    I agree that as Christians we should be honest about our sufferings and trials, and draw near to God and genuine Christians for comfort when we are hurting, we shouldn’t fake it til we make it. But God also calls us to give thanks in all circumstances, to trust in Him, and also to rejoice and have joy.

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