We are talking about lament this week. Lament means a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. When we use the word as a verb, it typically refers to mourning the loss of a person or the loss of a great thing. There's a book in the Bible called Lamentations. It's a book of poems--five of them--that express great grief and sorrow at the destruction of Jerusalem.
How in the world is lamenting a spiritual discipline? And why in the world would we talk about such things? Lament sounds unpleasant.
To lament biblically, is to say, "God, this is really, really bad, but I will still worship you!" We see this in Job. We see this in the book of Lamentations. We see it in places in the Psalms. And we see it in John 16:20. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy." He goes on to talk about the birth pains that a woman forgets after the child is born. The context is about Jesus death and coming resurrection. The same is the case of our sorrows and pain. If we are in Christ, these are but momentary afflictions.
Learning the spiritual discipline of lament means we can see how Paul said, "So we do now lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
We'll be discussing lament this Sunday. I want to encourage you to prepare your heart and mind for this important spiritual discipline. This song (and John Piper's words) might help you understand what it means to lament rightly.
"Those you slay me, still I will worship."
I am praying for you, especially if you are in a season of lament. But if you are not in that season, what an opportunity to learn and grow so when you are in such a season, you do not lose heart.
For the Kingdom!
Pastor Bryan Catherman