The Weekly Breather: Pouring out Lament

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Lake of the Woods

We try to include praise, thanksgiving, forgiveness, and confession in our daily prayers. But, we often feel guilty bringing our complaints or laments to God. Maybe today you need to express doubt, dryness, or even anger toward God.

Forty percent of the Psalms contain lament, so I believe that God has given us permission to bring all of our feelings to Him. This is not a sin but is actually what Richard Beck, Professor and Department Chair of Psychology at Abilene Christian University, calls “…an act of bold faith.” He encourages us to praise and lament.

So, take a moment and review your week. What concerns, thoughts, or feelings might you need to bring to the Lord today?

Settle Yourself: Release

Stop. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out slowly. Take another deep breath. Breathe out the stress of your day and breathe in the peace of God. If there is anything on your mind, any task that is left undone, or anything that would distract you from God’s presence, offer it up to God and ask Him to hold it for you. When your heart and mind are clear, focus on his Word.

Listen: Rest in the Word

Read this psalm through slowly a few times. If you can, read it out loud at least once.

Psalm 42 from The Message (MSG)

A white-tailed deer drinks
from the creek;
I want to drink God,
deep draughts of God.
I’m thirsty for God-alive.
I wonder, “Will I ever make it—
arrive and drink in God’s presence?”
I’m on a diet of tears—
tears for breakfast, tears for supper.
All day long
people knock at my door,
Pestering,
“Where is this God of yours?”

These are the things I go over and over,
emptying out the pockets of my life.
I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd,
right out in front,
Leading them all,
eager to arrive and worship,
Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving—
celebrating, all of us, God’s feast!

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.

When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.

Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
“Why did you let me down?
Why am I walking around in tears,
harassed by enemies?”
They’re out for the kill, these
tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day,
“Where is this God of yours?”

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.

Reflect: Feast on the Word

What do you need to shed tears for today? What part of your life may be “down in the dumps?” Where might there be chaos in your soul?

Pray

Lord, there are places in my life that are so dry. I need your presence to rain upon these parched areas. Today, I hand to you feelings that I am often reluctant to bring to you. Collect my tears and make them holy as I am vulnerable to you. Please bring peace and calm my storms. Bring forth order from my chaos. Thank you that you are a God who is big enough to handle the reality of my humanity. Amen.

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