Jeremiah Teaches Us About the Lament
Sometimes our laments blame God for our pain, when we are the source of our troubles
A lament is an expression of grief, sorrow, pain, regret, despair…you get the picture. Lament occurs when life overwhelms our hearts and steals our tomorrows. Many of the Psalms are laments. Though lamenting is biblical, our church services seldom includes the lament. We need to understand the lament and reclaim it.
Jeremiah’s short book of Lamentations contains six laments. Those who don’t identify with the lament breeze past them or even skip this book. For others these six dirges touch at a heart level and express an unfathomable angst in their souls.
Look at the strong themes of hopelessness in just one verse, Lamentations 1:20:
Distress: We feel anxiety and strain; we suffer in our situation.
Torment: We are harassed; we experience physical pain or mental anguish.
Brokenhearted: We are desolate; we grieve over loss.
Violence: The threat of physical force surrounds us.
Death: The end of life confronts us.
While the source of lament may spring from external sources, it can also result from our own choices. In this particular case, the cause for lament is self-inflicted. It is rebellion. Though the author, Jeremiah, carries this weight on his shoulders, his words serve to reflect the plight of the nation. The entire populace laments, but they are the cause: they rebelled against God.Don’t criticize God if your rebellious spirit is at fault. Click To Tweet
Sometimes our own actions take us down a wrong path, one where the likely outcome is distress, torment, broken heartedness, violence, and death. We cry out to God in the midst of this, but he is not at fault; our rebellious spirit is the cause.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.