For several days I struggled to get out from under the weight of my heavy, heavy heart. Hadn’t I just gone from Weeping to Wonder? Why was I once again in a place of lament?
What I wanted was to remain in a place of wonder, to stand solid and steadfast on my feet, to take off running toward the good work God has for me to do in this season of unnesting, and during this time of lockdowns and stay-home orders.
But somehow I continued to find myself sitting at His feet, feeling called – or perhaps drawn, to mine the depths of lament.
So I poured out my heart and feasted on His word.
I was moved by the exquisite portrayal of human suffering offered in the book of Lamentations, its language giving voice to much of what I am experiencing, what those in my community – and throughout the world, are experiencing during this time of restricted living.
But it was Psalm 84:5-7 that I returned to again and again.
What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage… When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger… (NLT)
That last verse, in the NIV, is rendered: They will go from strength to strength…
Those verses are a beautiful reminder that though my feet may be passing through the Valley of Weeping, there is joy to be had as I find my strength in Him. It is not a joy derived from suppressing sorrow, but rather one which comes from pouring my heart out to Him uncensored, trusting that He will take my anguish and somehow turn it into a refreshing spring.
This joy-strength comes from believing that He will clothe my lament in blessing, causing me to grow stronger as He takes me from strength to strength.
In her book Laugh it Up, Candace Payne says, “Grief is part of the fullness of life that we cannot ignore or overstep. Life can bring loss and pain. And we need lament, to get honest about these experiences and how they shape us.”
Lament is hard, painful work – but I believe there is something important in the grieving, something we’d miss if we were to rush too quickly to revel in the silver lining.
Throughout the Old Testament, God used suffering to encourage His people to turn their hearts back to Him, to draw them to Himself.
Perhaps the call to lament is His invitation to deeper intimacy. After all, our most intimate relationships are often the ones where we have dared to be our most vulnerable, to share honestly and even, at times, to weep when our hearts were hurting.
Friend, may you and I accept His invitation to deeper intimacy and richer relationship. May we experience the fullness of joy found only in His presence. May His strength give us the courage to explore the lament of our hearts, that we might learn its lessons and receive His refreshing and blessing in the process.
We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in You.Psalm 33:20-22