“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” (Psalms 130:1)
Many of us grew up where Minnesota or Wisconsin “nice” was expected, particularly in the church and with God. The psalmists weren’t from Midwest USA. They cried out to God in their grief, loss, and anguish. They cried as individuals but also collectively for their nation. They not only cried out expressing their honest feelings, but they asked God to take care of what they saw as the problem. They knew of God’s hand of deliverance on the Israelites in the past. Knowing God’s character from their stories, they asked Him to rescue them now.
This is a time where we, like Israel, may have similar feelings of sorrow, fear, anger, loss. How do I talk to God about this? One way would be to write your own “Lament Psalm.” You may want to look at a couple in the book of Psalms (examples: Psalms 13, 42, 60, 71, 79, 90). They don’t always follow the same pattern, but they are ALWAYS honest and forthright. However here is a pattern you could follow if that helps you get started:
- An honest anguishing over the problem – what hurts, what’s been impacted, how do you feel in your body, mind, soul.
- What are you asking of God?
- Declarations of trust in God’s character and actions.
Don’t worry about having the form right, God is not concerned with from but wants us to share our feelings – and God can handle our honest feelings. This can help us, as people get in touch with what’s going on internally in our minds and hearts. A lament allows us to bring what’s inside yourself, our church, our nation and world before God in an honest manner. It can help us face our true feelings and put our hope in God.
You may need to live with the anguish or confusion longer before you can go on and write the other elements. That’s OK. Come back after you have pondered it and go on from there. It doesn’t have to be “Psalm-like.” Most of us aren’t poets or professional writers. However, exercise can truly help us upon ourselves to God during this new experience in our lives.
After all, that is how the first laments were written as well.
After you have written your Lament, take a few minutes of silence to see if God speaks to you at this time. You can come back to it day after day and use it as a talking point with God as you listen for and discern His response and presence, for we know this of God’s character, God is steadfast.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.