by Michael Todaro
Anguish. Affliction. Forgotten. Struck down. Grief. Mourning. Cold.
Dear one, your Christ has lived these sufferings, and He has lamented. It is therefore perfectly Christian to lament.
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. —John 16:33
The Father, in His Providence has provided opportunity for you to walk as Jesus walk and share in His sufferings. This is not penance or asceticism. That is, you do not suffer to achieve His grace or glorify yourself through ritual or rigor. No, but God provides trouble, that you may take heart and He may overcome. He delights in being your refuge. The Lord Jesus Christ is a Refuge and safe haven for desperate refugees and despairing weaklings. He heals the broken hearted.
Furthermore, He has provided His Spirit to groan even deeper than you, to say what you cannot say. So, in this, Christ can not only sympathize in the past tense (as if He was human, but is not now). Rather, Jesus, though God, is still a man. And He has sent the Holy Spirit which proceeds from the Father Himself to comfort. So your comfort is planned by God. Both the God-ordained circumstances (“In the world you will have trouble”) and the Gospel (“I have overcome the world”) provide the means by which you may “take heart”.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul?and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
We are here shown what a grace it is to lament, to pour out our hearts before the Lord. God wants to hear your lament.
In our generation, one wonders if we even care enough to lament. Lamenting is seen as a defeated form of worship. We tend to want positive, upbeat songs to help us maintain our smiling dispositions.
However, “blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted”. So lament. Care enough to lament.
Jesus prayed with enough anguish to sweat drops of blood. I can’t remember the last time I just got a little teary-eyed. But lament? Have I ever?
For those who hold it in, don’t. Lament.
Cry out. Call upon the name of the Lord.
If you need help lamenting, read the Bible. Read a Psalm or even the book of Lamentations. Perhaps a slow study of the book of Job.
Let the Holy Spirit be your Counselor. A broken heart will not be despised by the LORD. He heals the brokenhearted.
In the next post, we will seek the comfort of the Lord Jesus in John 14-17.