Whether you have been going through The God of All Comfort with us from the beginning or joined us somewhere along the way, there is great value in review. If you have friends in fresh pain, invite them to join in — if not as participants, as readers. We’ll spend a few weeks in review.
Two questions prevail in the midst of suffering. “Why did this happen?” And, “How can I possibly get through this?” For the most part, The God of All Comfort addresses the second. You are in enormous pain. How will you make it?
We began with learning how to lament, as God gives us permission to do. This drawing by Andrew Dunn illustrates the grief we feel, the darkness and birds of prey around us, yet also the promise of rising hope. You can make it through the river of grief, and the lament is the tool God gives you to help you.
The most important thing to remember is that Satan wants you to back up from God, who is your only hope. The lament helps you not to back up.
1. Articulate what you have learned about the value of the lament, either from The God of All Comfort or the psalms themselves.
2. Do you remember the most common metaphor the psalmist uses for how he feels? (If not, you can find it in Psalm 18:4-5; Psalm 42:7 and in many of the hymns we have studied. Our closing hymn, What Wondrous Love, has it as well.) How does the fact that God understands this feeling help you?
3. A lament classically has three parts — the lament, the turn, and the remembrance of God’s character. Give an example from the psalms, or even from your own prayer journal.
4. There are also times when there is no turn, as in Heman’s Cry of Darkness in Psalm 88. How does he close his psalm? What does it mean to you that we can be free to be this honest with God?
5. How did Jesus lament on the cross?
6 Comment on a lamenting song like Blessed Be Thy Name or Come Lift Up Your Sorrows or one we’ve studied.
7. Are you incorporating the lament more into your prayer life? If so, how?