Learning to Lament

My brother recently lost his fight against lymphoma; however, he gained heaven. We rejoice in hope because of God’s loving promises. But, as you can imagine, the last nine months since his diagnosis have been difficult. And filled with prayer.

Many days as I prayed for Loran, I found myself crying and conflicted. I wanted more time with my brother. I wanted to be accepting of God’s will for him. I needed to trust God with a future I might not want.

My prayers became prayers of lament. Mark Vroegop with Desiring God says a lament “is a form of prayer. It is more than just the expression of sorrow or the venting of emotion. Lament talks to God about pain. And it has a unique purpose: trust. It is a divinely-given invitation to pour out our fears, frustrations, and sorrows for the purpose of helping us to renew our confidence in God.” 

Many times, in our sorrow we turn away from God rather than run to Him. We forget all that we know about our good God and think He doesn’t care. Instead of turning away we must bring our fears and sorrows to God who loves us. It was hard for me to admit to God that my brother might die. Putting it into words was too harsh and scary. Yet, saying it helped me to think through how good God is, even in death. I had to identify my fear in order for Him to help me look at it correctly.

When I did voice my fears, I was able to ask God for help. Help me to accept Your will, whatever it might be. Help me to be strong for the family and point them to You. Help me to grieve, not as the world grieves. Strengthen my faith in You. Remind me of Your promises.

I found through this struggle that too often, I’ve felt that I cannot show weakness in my faith by crying. Or hurting. Or admitting my fears. How wrong I was. Strength came when I prayed in lament, for God gave comfort and revealed more of Himself to me. He worked in my heart to show that I could trust Him and that in His time, I would be ready for His will whatever it might be.

Recently a friend texted that she was having a difficult time trusting God with her circumstances. From my experience I encouraged her that “it’s okay to cry. Lament. Tell God how you feel. Tell God what you are feeling. Cry to Him. And let Him whisper who He is.” 

If you are going through a time of struggle, fear, or sorrow, I encourage you to do the same. Learn to lament. Read the over 40 psalms of lament and learn to talk to God about your sorrows and your struggles. He’s waiting to hear from you.

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About Lynnette Goebel

Lynnette is the Director of Operations at RHMA Headquarters in Morton, Illinois. She has attended the same small-town church for most of her life. She adores her pastor’s wife.