A friend of mine is facing dark days. Her husband has recently been diagnosed with cancer. There are other issues being faced with grown children.
Life can be heartbreaking at times. There is lament.
Lament is larger than feeling sorry that you've sinned. It encompasses pain, hurt, confusion, anger, betrayal, despair, and injustice. It goes beyond your personal relationships to consider how all creation groans to be restored to God.
Sorrow increases momentum to seek, knock and ask.
I don't want my heart to close down, I want to groan,
to go through this pain, as painful as it is, to seek my Saviour, and to know Him deeper. The voice of Love is infiltrating...
(Beth M. Symanzik, Tenacious.)
Dan B. Allender, in his book, Cry of the Soul, says "The irony of faith is that is it not a quiet submission to the fates.
It asks. It shouts; It is a cry heard in Heaven.
Faith does not affect pious language, nor does it presume
that honest struggle will be smashed in a fit of devine pique. The irony of questioning God is that it honors Him; it turns our hearts away from ungodly despair toward a passionate
desire to comprehend Him.
"We were created to live with God in a garden, yet we wake every morning in the desert of a fallen world," says Michael Card, a singer, songwriter, author, and radio host from Tennessee.
The Bible speaks plenty to this.
Job says "And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest....
God has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes.
I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me.
You have turned cruel to me; with the might of your hand you persecute me.
You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it, and you toss me about in the roar of the storm....
"Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, and in his disaster cry for help?.....
But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came.
My inward parts are in turmoil and never still; days of affliction come to meet me.
I go about darkened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help......
My lyre is turned to mourning, and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.
(Parts of Job 30)
David, in Psalm 88, laments "For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol....the only friend I have left is Darkness."Psalm 119:28English Standard Version (ESV) My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!
As a friend I find it hard to be half way around the world from my hurting sister in Christ. I know I can call, facebook, email, send letters. Yet there is something so encouraging about having a friend with skin on close by.
Suffering is part of life. God says it will be. He also says we are to encourage one another, strengthen one another, help one another, and pray for one another. (Isaiah 35:3; 1 Thess. 5:11)
I am praying for my friend. I am thankful to God for His Word, His love, His care. He strengthens.
Romans 15: 4-5
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live
in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ
My thoughts here on suffering and lament are not done. I've posted this today to encourage you to think about the role of suffering in your life. I'll be posting more on the role of suffering in our lives.
I close this blog today with Jesus' words from John 16:33
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart;
I have overcome the world."
Not to sound flippant because I know how deeply painful life can be, but it i's good to know nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35) and that He wants us to cry to Him. He's always there - Our great Abba.