Several of you who are beginning this summer study on the lament expressed the concern that the lament seems negative. That’s true, but what I want you to know, the reason there are so many laments in Scripture, including 1/3 of the psalms, is that the lament is the doorway to praise and wisdom.
I know, from personal experience, this is true.
When my husband died, I wanted to die with him.
I knew I couldn’t, shouldn’t, but how could I go on without him?
As a Christian, I knew I needed to trust God and move to the other side of grief.
But instead, I was just treading water in that icy lake.
I was invited to “Grief Share,” an excellent group.
But I didn’t want to go because I was one of the speakers on those videos, speaking about grief before I actually knew deep, penetrating grief. I shouldn’t have let that stop me, but it did. Instead, I reasoned, I’m a Christian. I know the Word. I will get through this.
But instead, I keep treading water in that icy lake.
And then, I learned the lament.
It wasn’t a quick fix, but I started swimming to the other side.
In time, those dark clouds turned to deep mercy,
and I experienced the peace and joy that only a loving, living God can give.
I got to the other side! My life has purpose, joy, and peace. And so can yours.
If your book hasn’t arrived yet, you can download the first chapter on a kindle ap on Amazon for free. Or, they let you turn through the pages.
If this is your first time here, welcome! All you need to do is make a comment. You’ll be asked for your name (It’s a bit safer not to give us your last name – though that is up to you. An adjective will help distinguish you from others who have the same given name — like Shy Sharon or Mary from Seattle). They will also ask for your e-mail — but that will not be seen online. I (Dee) need to approve your first comment but after that, you can just jump on and join the wonderful discussion. Sometimes a red flag will come up because you’ve given link or come on with an unrecognized device, and I’ll need to approve again and you’ll need to be patient. (This is all for our safety, for there are those with an agenda other than learning who try to come on.) We are so glad to have you join our community and hope you “swim” all through summer, becoming the woman God longs for you to be. Welcome! Welcome!
Highlight From Last Week
We have at least ten active newcomers and many more who will follow silently. So glad you are with us! Please share a few sentences about yourself. Welcome — we pray this will be meaningful to you. If you signed up to get e-mails, this post will come to you Sunday mornings. If not, just come to this website and jump on.
When I announced what we would be studying this summer, many of our regulars expressed their honest apprehension. This is why we have such a rich group — vulnerable honesty leads the way to iron sharpening iron, to intimacy, and to truth.
Dawn led the way, wondering since she was prone to depression if this might plunge her into dark waters (yet, she also said, she realized it might just be the thing that would help.) Susan empathized with Dawn’s fears and hopes.
Sharon confessed rebellion in her heart, not wanting to wallow in her pain — but asking God (and I love this) for a teachable heart.
Newcomer Denise said she often thought of lament as whining but knows that is not really the case.
I am so excited to show you the value of lament. We often learn it when the sky falls on us personally. I know I did. But then we begin to see how it can lead us into praise and also help us to empathize with our hurting brothers and sisters and to cry out to God for things we do not understand. I want to show you one of my laments from the past week. A typical lament has three parts.
1: Lament: Oh Lord, it does feel like the sky is falling with the Covid virus, increased racism, riots, and what I see as a disastrous decision, perhaps as big as Roe versus Wade, on the part of the Supreme Court last week. So much pain, death, tears, and spiraling down. I know this is not how You created the world to be. Do you see the suffering of the innocent? Don’t You want to protect the oppressed, the police, the poor, and Your design for sex? I think about how painful it must have been for George Floyd’s mother and brother to watch his death. How painful the deaths of police officers since, who are afraid to defend themselves, and for the grief of their families. I’m hearing about many small business owners, many immigrants, who barely survived Covid and now have been looted. And I am so disappointed in a Supreme Court Justice I thought would uphold Your view on marriage and gender.
2. Pause and question: Why do You allow all this?
3. Resolve: You are sovereign. You have not lost control. As Ecclesiastes says, you “will do all things well in Your time.” I know nothing slips between Your fingers. I know I should not have put my trust in the Supreme Court. And I confess I have not been as active in helping and praying for my oppressed brothers and sisters as I should be, Help me, O Lord, to weep with those who weep and to love as You do. Help me pray, and have wisdom on how I spend the money and time You have given me.
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Whether you are new or not, tell us, in two sentences, what you hope to gain from this study and something to help us know you.
Optional: Saturday night The Gospel Coalition hosted a lament for racial injustice: beautiful music and prayers. I encourage you to watch this week and share your thoughts. The author of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy is part of it. Here’s the link:
Monday: Foreward From Joni
3. Read the Forward from Joni in Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy.
A. What was Joni’s prayer in the hospital?
B. What verse did her counselor show her and how did it minister to her?
C. Have you ever felt what is expressed in Lamentations 3:1 and 3? Share briefly.
Tuesday: Sorrows Like Sea Billows
4. Read the Introduction, “Life in a Minor Key” through the section titled “Sorrows Like Sea
Billows.” What happened and what were the author’s feelings?
5. If you have experienced the death of a child, in any way, what were your feelings?
The title “Sorrows Like Sea Billows” comes from the hymn “It is Well With My Soul.”
6. What stands out to you from the above story and why?
Wednesday: The Lament
7. Read the section “Discovering Lament” and write one comment that stood out to you.
8. Read the section “Uncomfortable with Lament” and explain why that may be.
9. Read the section “Lament as Grace.” What did the author learn.
10. A classic lament has 3 parts: A. Honesty B The Turn C The Resolve. Find them in Psalm 13 by
sharing first word of A____________________B_____________________C_____________________.
Thursday: Dark Clouds Deep Mercy
11. Read to the end of the Introduction. What insight does the author give you into the two
seemingly contradictory verses of Lamentations 2:1 and 3:22?
12. Did you realize that the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” is the end of a lament? What hope
does this give you?
Friday: Reflection Questions
13. Choose two or more of the reflection questions at the end of the Introduction to answer.
14. What is your reaction to our introductory week and why?
15. If you watch the Gospel Coalition program lamenting racial injustice, what stood out to you?