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. Psalm 22:1-2
What is lament? It means to sit with our grief, examine it, cry out with it, and give it a voice. The Bible calls us to lament when we are grieving. Job does this in Chapter 2 of Job. Jeremiah – the presumed author of Lamentations – dedicates the entire book to his lament. When our grief stays in our head and is not expressed in some way, it will come out in some inappropriate way. Let us take an example from David in Psalm 22 and look at ways we can grieve in a healthy way that will help us move forward on our grief journey.
David cries out to God in the first 7 verses of Psalm 22, using all kinds of descriptive words to tell God of his pain, how he feels abandoned, how he feels like he is ignored, unseen and mocked. David is putting into practice what Jeremiah implores us to do, “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord,” Lamentations 2:19. Spend time praying to God, talk to him about your pain, about your loss, or your wish for things to be different than they are now. Use as much description as you can. It might be helpful to write it out, or draw or paint a picture if words are difficult for you to use.
In verses 8 – 10 David’s perspective shifts- he was prompted to remember God’s protection. As you pray, notice what God prompts you to remember, make a note of it. In verses 11 – 18 David is specific about his deep distress and feeling of powerlessness. Be specific about your distress with God, explain it to him in detail, in word, in pictures, in prayer. In verses 19 – 21 David asks expectantly for God to rescue and deliver him. Put your confidence in God, ask him to ease your pain and to comfort you, for “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” Psalm 34:18. The rest of Psalm 22 is praise to God for what he has done for his people, for how he has listened to their cry for help. Remember God’s faithfulness to you in your past, tell God about it and thank Him. Be assured, God hears you – God is with you.
By Grace Hunter