The Weekly Breather: Crying Souls

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Lament

There is enough reason in this life to set us all to crying.
When is the last time you cried? Really cried?
Have you come across anything, past or present, that is worthy of tears?
Why have you not cried over those things?
Where has the sorrow gone that could have been expressed in lament? Is it still inside you?

Lament is an appropriate human expression. Life has brutally painful moments. Lament is also a most biblical expression. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. Lament is not somehow disloyal to God.

Prophets, women, fathers, kings and whole nations have lamented.

Jesus Christ himself also lamented—with friends, at death of Lazarus, over the brokenness and pain in the city of Jerusalem and over his own life in Gethsemane.

Some of the Psalms are the most visceral scriptures containing lament. My own laments are buried in journals. Sometimes, when I take them out and reread pieces, they help me remember how dark life was and who it was who stayed with me. Recently, I found this poem I had written in a time of deep lament in mid nineties. I hope it will help you connect with any grieving in your soul and help you carry it to God in an authentic way.

Release

As you prepare to contemplate on the poem of lament offered here, take a deep breath and offer any worries or anxieties to God. Place at Jesus’ feet anything that might hinder your focus or block what He may be saying to you. Take a moment to check in with your body and see how it feels. Are you tense? Cold? Do what you need to do in order to remove any distractions where possible. Offer up a prayer to the Lord for peace, focus, and for Him to speak through this poem.

Contemplate

Read through the following poem slowly. Meditate on the words. What stands out to you? Where does your soul connect?

Rain and sorrow, a deluge
My sorrow overflowing life’s sorrow
What should have been and isn’t
Silent thunder
Baptism of tears

I look for, long for
Lightening and rainbows and revelation
But it rains
Gray sky, steady drizzle

Take comfort my soul
To feel the rain is, at least to feel,
And possibly to dance with face raised
Perhaps even to sing and laugh
For your tears and God’s flow together
Cup them in your hands
Fling them to the sky
Spread your arms and cry

Be it unto me
Let it fall
I receive it all.

Pray

As you breathe slowly, in and out, offer a breath of prayer to God. Is there an invitation you sense from Him? Feel free to respond authentically to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

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Vice President for Community Formation at Asbury Theological Seminary and has been a church leader in the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination since 1979. She has wide pastoral experience in partnership with her husband Steve. Together, they have lead three churches over 31 years, provided missionary member-care and pastoral retreats in Chile, Argentina and Venezuela since l985, and formation teaching during Field Conferences in Eastern Europe and Indonesia.

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