Earlier this week I wrote a post about my life with pain – a lamentation for what I lost. Today, I planned on posting a follow-up with “What I Found”. But I can’t go there yet.
The response to my lament was overwhelming. So many of you, like me, have an unmet need to grieve. We have been raised in a culture that doesn’t know how to lament. I would argue that, in the church, we have treated grief and pain as evidence of a lack of faith or, even worse, evidence of sin. What a lie.
Lament isn’t pretty.
It brings to mind wailing widows clothed in black and blotchy, red eyes and runny noses. It brings to mind a man, bloodied and beaten, hanging on a cross.
The image of the suffering Christ on the cross was always associated with the Catholic church, in my mind. Growing up in the Evangelical community, we were encouraged not to focus on the bleeding Christ but on the empty cross, the risen Christ, the empty tomb.
We miss something when we jump past Christ’s suffering to resurrection day.
We miss the true depth of Christ’s humanity. We miss the fact that he knew pain like us. He was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”. He cried, bled, suffered and mourned, just like us.
There is sweet comfort in the crucified Christ, in the fellowship of his sufferings, in knowing he “keeps track of all our sorrows. He collects all our tears in a bottle. He has recorded each one in his book.” (Psalm 56:8)
So, let’s stay in this place of lament a little longer, pause in this sweet holy space where we acknowledge our pain and our fears and present them to the One who bore them all.
Today, my dear friend, I grieve with you.
I grieve for your pain and suffering. I lament for your loss, for what death has taken from you. I weep for the marriage that has ended, for the betrayal of trust, for the child who has wandered away, for the dream that remains unfulfilled.
If this speaks to your heart, please take time to name and acknowledge your lament and present it to your heavenly Father. He can handle your anger, your questions and your pain. Be still. Feel His presence. Tell Him your story.
And, when you feel overcome with doubt and fear, stubbornly cling to what remains of your faith. You will find Him there.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.