THE LANGUAGE OF LAMENT
There was hardly a dry eye in the room. One by one men and women got up to read aloud a lament they had written. There were tears as we lamented for girls who are enslaved, for parents and grandparents who have lost children, for many who are depressed and think there is no reason to live, for those being persecuted all over the world, for a world that does not know God.
We let each other into the hidden places of our hearts, where we had been holding on to our pain.
My husband, oldest son and I spent this past week studying with Michael Card on “Recovering the Lost Language of Lament.” We focused on the lives of Job, Jeremiah, David and Jesus, and read some of their laments. I may be writing more on what I have learned this past week as I process it. It was an intensive study, and I will need time to go back over my notes and get my thoughts together.
WHAT IS A LAMENT?
A lament usually starts out with a plea for God to listen. Next there could be questions, complaints, anger and more. But then there is a change. They remember who God is and what He has done in the past. They remind themselves that He is good and long for His presence. When they have done this their circumstances may not have changed, but their perspectives have. They have offered their pain to God as a lament.
God knows our hearts already. Nothing is hidden from Him. He is not afraid of our complaints, questions or even anger. We give our pain, heartaches, doubts as offerings to God, because until we let them go we are unable to experience the peace that God can give.
A SERVICE OF LAMENT
Our last session was a service of lament, which was divided into three parts, each beginning with scripture.
- The world at large
Michael Card began with a song, after which someone sounded a shofar. Next a woman sang the Shema – Hear, Oh Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one. Then a psalm of lament was read. Finally, we shared our laments. We wept together as we poured out our hearts before God. It was a beautiful service. We ended in praise to God as we sang hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness.
This is a lament I wrote just before the first session of the last day of the seminar.
A Prayer of Lament
Father, hear my prayer
Arguments, false accusations
Deception, lies, hurt
Some close to me are reeling
Where are you, Lord?
I cry unto you, but some things get worse
I want to believe You will answer
My heart is in pain for some of my children
Please come to their aid
Bring back those who have turned away
Oh Lord, my heart aches
But Your Word brings peace
I long for You
Your presence comforts me
Don’t ever leave
I would be lost without You
Thank You for always loving me
And being faithful
You, my God, are greater than all
You are my hope
I’d like to share a beautiful song written by Michael Card and Vance Taylor. I hope it ministers to you as it has to me and my family. This song is on his album The Hidden Face of God. This You tube video is much like what we experienced as he sang this past week.
It took more than five minutes to write this, but I’m adding it to the #FiveMinuteFriday linkup since I did use the prompt word hidden. I’m also linking up with: #WordofGodSpeak, #GiveMeGrace, #SoulSurvival, #inspirememonday, #LMMLinkup, #IntentionalTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TestimonyTuesday, Cisneros Cafe, #CoffeeforYourHeart, #SittingAmongFriends, #SmallWonder, #ThoughtProvokingThursday, #Faith’nFriends
35 thoughts on “Lament, A Lost Language”
FOR HE’s wounded too……such deep thoughts…such real relief….
Amen, Becky! It was a great week, wasn’t it? Blessings to you dear sister!
I am so glad you shared this.
“We give our pain, heartaches, doubts as offerings to God, because until we let them go we are unable to experience the peace that God can give.”
A hurting world needs to experience the peace of God. How can they know it if we, the people of God, have not offered God our pain, heartaches, and doubts. When we do, we experience His peace and can better show the way to others who are reeling and have no where to go.
I’m your FMF neighbor.
Thanks for your insights, Cheryl! Yes, once we have given our sorrows to God, He enables us to help others, too. Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you!
Gayl, thank you for sharing your lament and this workshop and the fine song. I just sang along as Michael called on his audience to do. I am glad you shared that these days with Michael Card were similar to this video. Such a blessing you had with him, with the others there, and in such a beautiful setting. I want to have been there too! A subject of ‘lament’ is a tough one but oh so powerful and important for each of us. The humility we each must have will allow us to share before others. It often takes an opening such as this that you had.
Linda, I know you would have loved it. It wasn’t necessarily easy or fun to study about lament, but it was powerful and beautiful. I am thankful that we had this opportunity.
Thanks so much for stopping by and for your thoughtful comments. Blessings to you, LInda!
You’re welcome, Jane! Thanks so much for stopping by. Many blessings to you!
There in your wilderness, He’s waiting for you . . .
Gayl, I love MIchael Card’s ministry (He calls himself the broccoli of Christian music because people recommend him in that way).
I read a book about Lamentations late last year and have been processing the truth of it ever since. Even Robert Frost used these words: “come into the dark and lament.”
I believe that on some level many of the cracks in our theology arise from an unwillingness to look at the hard things in our lives and truly grieve.
Thank you for stopping by, Michele! I had not heard that about Michael Card, but I can see how that fits.
Yes, we really do need to relearn how to grieve in our lives and in our churches today. It’s there we do find God’s peace.
Blessings to you!
Lament and grieving are so healing and purposeful in our lives, Gayl. I’m always glad to read about that topic and do that in my own spiritual and relational life as well. I also LOVE Michael Card! Who knew that he gave conferences on this subject?? I haven’t kept up with him over the past decade or two. I used to rock my oldest son (now 26) to sleep with Michael Card’s lullaby CD and loved his other CD’s as well. Thanks for giving us a peek at him as well as your beautiful words of lament. If king David made that his practice, then it seems like a great one for anyone who aspires to be a man or woman after God’s own heart!
Beth, thank you so much for your heartfelt comments! Yes, lament and grieving do help bring healing. This was the first time we sat under Michael Card’s Bible teaching, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. He’s very humble, down to earth and really loves God and His word.
We’ve been following him for awhile. I loved the lullaby cd’s too, as well as all of his other music. 🙂
Thank you for your encouragement to me, too. Yes, we definitely need to recover this “lost language of lament.” Thanks for stopping by! Many blessings to you!
Love the Great Shema! Sounds like you had a nice time. I’m over in the 68 spot this week.
Yes, Tara, it was a wonderful time. Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings to you, sweet sister!
Great post, Gayl, and I would never have thought in these terms.
I’m not one for lamenting, though. Seen a lot, done a lot, and in the end tragedy – even personal tragedy – is a kind of nonevent. It has to be, else the hurt would simply eat me up.
But I will look at this again – thank you!
Thank you, Andrew! Yes, it’s a bit new for me, too. I first began thinking about it when I picked up Mike Card’s book A Sacred Sorrow. This past week was really a blessing and very helpful.
I know what you mean esp. if we stay in the lament. It hurts a lot, but the beauty is that we give it to God. The hurt doesn’t all go away, but knowing that God is with me in the hurt does bring me peace.
So glad you stopped by, Andrew. May God bless you as you have blessed others.
A very powerful concept and a great post, Gayl. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much, Kath! Blessings to you!
Gayl- This was a great post! God wants us to come to Him with everything and I think He welcomes the hard emotions. He gives us comfort and hope each time we come to Him.
We are slow to show these hard emotions to others, but isn’t it in these moments when true fellowship happens?
What a powerful experience!
Blessings on your week!
Stopping by from #IntentionalTuesday
Thank you, Julie! It is sometimes hard to show these emotions to others, but you are right, that’s when true fellowship happens. We share not only in each other’s joys but sorrows as well.
It was a great week of learning and sharing. Yes, it was also powerful.
Blessings to you and thanks for visiting!
in the last few years, i have been introduced a little to this concept of lament, how prevalent it is in Scripture and how seldom we want to go through the full process of lament b/f moving on to the happy part of christianity. sadly, we tend to want to skip this important part of worship and life and only live in the happy part…making us rather odd and unbalanced.
i loved micheal card’s song. the idea that i could offer up my pain to GOD in worship is foreign from my personal experience…but one i need to experience more i’m sure! thanks for a great post:)
The concept is new to me, too, but oh how important it is. Scripture is full of examples of lament.
I’m glad you liked the song. It’s one of my favorites. In fact, Michael Card said it was his very favorite of all he’s written. I love the idea that I can lift up my pain as a offering.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Martha. Blessings to you!
I love your description of lament, Gayl. Pouring out our hearts, holding nothing back. He already knows our hearts. But then the shift that sees He’s right there with us.
Thank you, Crystal! Thank you for your encouraging comments. Blessings to you!
This touches my heart so. As did the song you shared. Thank you for linking up at Cisneros Cafe. You bless me. I know it will bless others. xxx
Carolina, I’m glad you were touched. It was a very special time and we came away changed. Blessings to you!
There have been times when the Psalms of lament were exactly what I needed, I’m so thankful for their presence in scripture. And that service sounds lovely. Thanks for linking, Gayle.
Yes, Kelly, sometimes when we can’t find the right words on our on, we can find them in the Psalms and other scriptures.
The service was the culmination of a week of study and it was beautiful. I’ve not really experienced something like it before. It really was a blessing.
Thanks so much for visiting and may God bless you!
This is lovely, Gayl! We totally need to recover the art of lament
Thank you, Tanya, dear! Yes, it is much needed in our world today.
Thanks for coming by, Tanya. Many blessings to you, dear sister! xo
Gail, this is so profound! There is such blessing in lamenting, and I believe we can truly see His heart through the pain and suffering and wrestling. We’ve all been there, and this is part of life, part of being an authentic child of God.
Thank you for coming by, Crystal. Yes, there is definitely blessing found through lamenting. It might not be fun at the time, but God is so loving and caring and meets us there “in our wilderness.”
Blessings to you! Have a wonderful week!
We were talking about the psalms of lament just last week in light of the horrific flooding that occurred where our church is located. Thanks for sharing this!
I’m glad there seems to be a resurgence of reading the laments in the Bible and learning to lament ourselves. I know my experience at the seminar was a blessing.
Thanks for visiting Leslie. I hope you have a great week ahead. May God bless!