Meditate on this promise.
Though complaining sounds negative, there is a way to do it that is profitable. Most people complain to others, which is hurtful, for a broken spirit dries up the bones.
But God actually wants us to bring our complaints to Him, in the form of a lament. Psalm 10 concentrates on the afflicted and has one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Psalm 10:17. I particularly loved how Pastor Vroegop helped someone with same-sex attraction. It also brought to my remembrance a time I did exactly as he outlines, and how much it helped me and the afflicted one I was praying for. It was when I was with my mother, who was dying and suffering enormously. This is my beautiful mother with me when I was just a freshman at college.
Mother didn’t put her trust in Christ until six months before her death at the age of ninety-three. (Despite dementia — for with God, all things are possible.) I had asked God to allow me to be at her side when she died, and He did. It was three in the morning and she was vomiting blood, suffering so, and I was beside myself. I was pacing the floor and lamenting — and I complained to God, using His promises, just as this chapter teaches. I cried out: Lord, You promised a bruised reed you would not break — a smoldering wick you would not put out. But you are breaking my mother — she is so fragile — this is way too much suffering for her. Help! Hear my cry! Where are you? Over and over again I prayed this. About five in the morning a nurse appeared at the door, she came in early, compelled by God. I told her what was happening. She said, “Oh Dee, I think she’s afraid to die.”
“No, Fran! She’s a Christian now — she shouldn’t be afraid.”
“But she’s a baby Christian.” Fran knelt down next to my mother and said: “Mrs Brown — don’t be afraid. You are completely forgiven and Jesus is waiting for you with open arms.”
Mother looked up, peace came over her, and she was gone.
You hear O Lord, the desire of the afflicted, you encourage them and listen to their cry.
Listen to at least the beginning of this beautiful song from Integrity which puts this wonderful verse to music and may help you get it in your heart.
Highlights From Last Week
OH, SO MANY WONDERFUL LAMENT SONGS! This is a rich and varied group. I recommend that when you are “stuck” with the lament go back to last week and find one to listen to.
And again, I am struck by how you minister to one another from the riches stored up in your hearts. Denise honestly shared how shame makes her silent instead of lamenting and Chris brought to her the wonderful picture of the father running to the son who was lost, picking up his robe and running with shameless abandon. We don’t need to be afraid to come to Him! So good. Together we are so much better than if it was just a teacher responding to you. Wonderful!
You raised many good questions too — so I’m going to throw just two back to you for your responses:
Laura-Dancer, our so honest regular, thought her lament had produced a change in her husband, but then realized it hadn’t. She said UGH! Now what do I do — just keep lamenting? What do you think?
And Denise, a lovely newcomer, caused me to ponder when she wrote: I think the African slaves got it right. I think Corrie ten Boom and her sister got it right in Ravensbruck. I think lament comes from when we have been stripped of everything and have nowhere else to go. That is certainly how I learned to lament, but now I feel it is helping me in lesser things to get God’s perspective and trust Him. But then I wondered, looking at our opening verse of Psalm 10:17 — should it be saved for desperate times? Thoughts?
- What stood out to you from the above and why? Thoughts on the questions from Highlights?
Monday: Godly Complaint
2. Read through Psalm 10 and share your initial thoughts on the main subject and anything that becomes “radioactive to you.”
I happen to love Jason Silver’s psalms to music. Here is his rendition of Psalm 10:
3. Read the opening of Chapter 2 of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy and comment.
4. Read the section “Godly Complaint” and explain (perhaps using the quote by Billings or Gleddiesmith) how to complain in a godly way.
5. Read the section “Start Complaining” and articulate the psalmist’s complaint about God.
Tuesday: Bring Your Questions
6. Read the opening three paragraphs under “Bring Your Questions.”.
A. What is the first question the psalmist addresses to God?
B. After reading the paragraph, what is the seeming disparity between the name LORD or
Yahweh or the Great I AM and the problem the psalmist sees?
7. Read the paragraph that beings “The second question is even more appointed” through the paragraph that ends with “That’s the tension of the complaint.” What is that tension?
8. Read on through all the examples of questions he gives, and stop at “a few years ago.” What commonalities do you see in the first series of questions? In the second series?
9. What disparity do you see in your life or in another’s that seems to hold the same conflict?
Can you pray this in a lament using the four parts: Turn, Complain, Ask, Trust.
Wednesday: To Help Those in Same-Sex Attraction
I thought this was golden, should God open a door to minister to a believer in same-sex attraction. I’m also processing how this could be used in talking to those who have been hurt by Christians who have been hurt by those who claim Christ was were unbelievably rude to non-Christians in same-sex attraction. I spent four hours with a woman last week who I think God is wooing but is so hurt because when her homosexual brother died of AIDS, those who claimed the name of Christ heaped more suffering on him, by telling him he was an abomination in the sight of God.
7. Read the section that begins “A few years ago I taught…” and goes through his ministry to a church member struggling with same-sex attraction. What happened and how did he minister to him differently than counselors in the past? Why did it help?
8. Is there a way you could apply this to a friend struggling with same-sex attraction? If so,
prepare what you might say here in a few sentences.
Thursday: How To Complain in The Right Way
9. What are the four aspects of complaining in the right way.
10. Your turn — take a complaint either about your own life or another’s and lament,
remembering the above and going through the four steps of Turn, Complain, Ask, Trust.
Friday: Choose Two Reflection Questions
11. Answer two of them — your choice.
12. Has your prayer life grown in the lament and what benefits are you seeing?