Yesterday, I came across some extremely relevant and helpful websites which were teaching about lamenting. If you want some thorough, insightful reading material on the subject, check out the following resources:
If you would rather read summaries and brief teachings on lamenting, then stay tuned to upcoming blog posts. Let me share with you what I’ve been learning from these websites.
1. Lament. It’s Biblical.
Lamenting is the Believer’s response to the hurt, pain, and grief in the world.
Biblical expressions of lament:
A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more. – Matthew 2:18
Jesus wept. – John 11: 35
If Jesus lamented, we lament. We follow suite.
As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. – Ezra 9:3
And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went. – 2 Samuel 13:19
(*tearing clothing and putting ashes on one’s head were outward expressions of grief)
2. Lamenting is not the same as being depressed.
There is a difference between lamenting and being depressed.
Lamenting is the act of expressing pain, grief, sorrow, and injustice.
Being depressed is the state of being in low spirits because of lost hope or courage.
The difference is that lamenting is an action of expression which includes hope, while depression is a state of being in low spirits due to hopelessness.
Lamenting is Biblical. Depression is not. Jesus does not want us to be depressed or hopeless, but He does want us to express emotions and feelings, even if they are not socially “good” or “attractive” (ie: sadness, fear, anger, confusion, sorrow, pain, ect.).
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
Hope is a good thing. Hope is a God thing! The God of hope wants His children to be people of hope. Therefore, depression and hopelessness are not part of God’s plan for His children. In fact, God’s plan for His children is the opposite of depression = JOY! Jesus wants us to be joy-filled!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
And, God doesn’t just command and expect us to have joy; He tells us how to be joy-filled! God doesn’t leave us hanging by saying, “be joyful!”; He gives us instructions. We get a 411 FROM THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE on how-t0-have-joy!
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. – John 15:9-11
Application from this? Abide in His love -> get joy. Simple formula.
…In Your Presence there is fullness of joy… – Psalm 16:11
Do we want the fullness of joy? It’s the same simple formula.
Remain in His Presence (Stay abiding in His love) -> Receive fullness of joy
3. Use the Psalms of lament for specific language.
In times of lamenting, we often don’t have the words. Using the language of the Psalms can help us verbalize what we are thinking, feeling, and praying.
Language of lament from the Psalms:
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. – Psalm 22:1-2
O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant. – Psalm 83:1-5
We need to recognize the Truth of the lament in Psalms. People felt forgotten by God. They felt like they were groaning and crying out to God, without His answer. They felt as though He was silent. And they expressed this through the Psalms.
Use these Psalms to help express. We have all most likely struggled to have the verbal language to express ourselves. This is one of the most frustrating things – to not be able to express. Access the Psalms!!! The Psalms provide us language to use when we are in times of trial, tribulation, and lamenting.
4. Lament with other people, not in isolation.
Lamenting in isolation leads us to believe we are alone & silenced. This causes more pain; and the purpose of lamentation is not to bring up more pain, but to express the pain.
Numbers 20:29 – all the house of Israel mourned (plural)
1 Samuel 30:4 – David and all the people who were with him (plural)
2 Samuel 1:12, 15:30 – they mourned (plural)
Zechariah 12:12 – Mourning together as families (plural)
Many times in Scripture, people lamented together. Whether it was mourning over someone’s death, the fall of a nation, sin, injustices, or the wicked, it was corporately lamented.
2. Lament together.
Do not isolate yourself to mourn over a sorrow, injustice, a loss, or a burden. Talk to a Believer about it. Pray about it and mourn over it with another Lover of Jesus.
3. Do not lose hope. Depression is not from God. Lamenting is worship. (I am learning more about this, and you may see an upcoming blog post concerning this topic.)
4. Use the Psalms to verbalize your lament.