A Call to Lament

November 20, 2017 | Written by Lindsey Rowe

Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash
Lament reveals our deepest fears, our deepest selves to the One who created us.

To be quite honest, my life is pretty easy.

If I am hungry, I go to my refrigerator. It is full because it is easy for me to drive my gas-filled car to the store to buy groceries with my debit card that always has sufficient money attached to it. If I need to exercise, or just sit in beauty, I walk over to the Garden of the Gods. It is within my grasp because I live in a safe, clean, beautiful neighborhood. I don’t worry as I walk down the street alone. I know my neighbors respect one another and that in off-chance they didn’t, I would have the support and protection of our local law enforcement.

My life is pretty easy.

And yet.

And yet, there is an ache in my heart. A rawness that begs to be heard and to be seen.

If my heart was exposed to you in all its glory and beauty, you would find it broken more often than not.

When I dare to wonder why, to ask the Creator of the Universe, I hear a gentle whispered reply, “You were created for this. To feel. To live. To love. To desire.”

I was created in My Father’s image. And so I see the beauty of those who are hurting, and my heart responds. It breaks for them, for the broken glory. It breaks for those who are hurting them. Their glory is broken as well. Let us not forget they, too, were created in the image of the Father.

What do I do with that deep pain, the holy sorrow that seems like it might overwhelm me as it comes in waves? I fear that I might drown in it. I fear more that I might numb myself to it and allow myself to forget.

So, I turn to the prophets, to David. They felt and they lived. They saw glory and they saw pain. They suffered and they connected with God in his infinite beauty. How could their human hearts handle it?

I learn from them and their openness. And I begin to cry out to God myself, the way that they did. I begin to lament.

As the laments flow from my hand, one after another, on to the paper in front of me, I realize what deep worship is happening. As I reveal the anguish, I am connecting with Yeshua in a very deep way. The things that I lament over, He died for. As I write, I am stripping the layers of my heart and am laying myself before Him, bare and vulnerable.

Lament does that. It reveals our deepest fears, our deepest selves to the One who created us, the One who gently waits for us to reveal to Him what He already knows.

What is going on in your heart? What might you need to lament? The helplessness of seeing someone you love in pain? The racial division we are surrounded with? A wound from your past? The thought of children being sold into sex trafficking?

I encourage you – allow yourself to feel it, bring it to your Creator, your loving and kind Father.

You may be surprised at how He meets you there.

Here is a short lament I wrote.

You were created for this. To feel. To know. To be loved. To want. To hope. To desire.
It crashes around me, like a tidal wave ready to consume me. I am afraid it will hurt. I am afraid I won’t survive.
You were created for this.
But the pain. The pain is deep and real. Raw.
You were created for this. To feel.
Lord, I am so afraid. This thing is, I think, my deepest fear…
You were created for this. To desire. To live. In this world, you will lose. You will hurt. The pain is real. Allow it to wash over you. Don’t turn from it. Don’t deny it. Feel it. Live it.
You were created for this.

If you would like to try your hand at writing a lament of your own, here is a guide to help you:

Practicing Lament: The French Pantoum
(© Anam Cara Ministries, for personal use only. Do not reproduce without permission.)

Stanza 1:
Line 1: Who I know God to be right now:

Line 2: The cause of my lament—why I cry out:

Line 3: What the situation makes me feel about God:

Line 4: What I long to see happen in the situation:

Stanza 2:
Line 5 (repeat of line 2 in stanza 1):

Line 6 (new line):

Line 7 (repeat of line 4 in stanza 1):

Line 8 (new line):

Stanza 3
Line 9 (repeat line 6 of stanza 2):

Line 10 (repeat line 3 of the first stanza):

Line 11 (repeat line 8 of stanza 2):

Line 12 (repeat line 1 of the first stanza):

Lindsey is the Program Director for the Soul Care Institute. If you are interested in learning more about spiritual direction in your own life, contact Lindsey.


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