With my voice I cry out to the Lord;

   with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.

I pour out my complaint before him;

  I tell my trouble before him. Psalm 142:1-2

Lament, bringing emotions of sadness, anger, and fear, out into the open and expressing them to God, is a foreign practice in our culture. Instead of confronting or showing emotions like anger, confusion, fear, or grief we more often try to distract ourselves from the fact they exist. Some of us may even have picked up the idea that lamenting somehow betrays a lack of trust in God and therefore we should only rejoice or respond to tragedy with “positive” emotions and the “right answers.” But lament is a deeply biblical and faithful way of responding to personal misfortune and the evil we see in the world. Hannah lamented over her infertility (1 Sam 1:9-11). David lamented his suffering at the hands of his enemies in the psalms. Jeremiah wept for the destruction of Jerusalem in Lamentations. Jesus himself wept over Jerusalem (Matt 23:37-39).

Today’s devotional is designed to give you space to lament. Let yourself experience the fullness of your emotions and bring them to God. This may feel uncomfortable and unpleasant, but resist the temptation to rush through the “negative” emotions in order to profess your confidence in God. Even though followers of Jesus live as people of hope, and we do have hope, we do not live untouched by the everyday losses and sorrows of this world. Even though Christ is victorious over sin and death we see the effects of sin and death in our world. It’s as if we live in the dawn but there are still tinges of darkness. And we are allowed to grieve and lament that darkness. We are allowed to tell God that the darkness doesn’t always make sense and we wish he would take it away. Lament is an appropriate response to the evil of the world. Lament is an appropriate response to injustice and the mistreatment of people made in God’s image and loved by him. God can hold our anger, confusion, fear, grief, and fury and he will walk with us through them.

Today, pray through Psalm 142. Pause where indicated to voice your own lament to God.

With my voice I cry out to the Lord;
with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.

Cry out to God and tell him your list of things that cause you to lament, either in your own life or in the world around you.

When my spirit faints within me,
you know my way!
In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for my soul.

Bring to God the burdens you feel you carry alone.

I cry to you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”

Attend to my cry,
for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me!
Bring me out of prison,
that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me,
for you will deal bountifully with me.

Bring to God what brings you low. Finally, after you have brought everything to God, close with thanksgiving that God hears your cries.

By Jessica Rust

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