Lament isn’t easy. It’s not usually the most comfortable or natural response. It’s easier to wallow in the pain or try to numb it somehow. To jump into the boat and embark on the journey of lament requires trust in our Good Shepherd to lead us and to meet us with His steadfast love and anchoring truth.
One thing that helps motivate me to engage in lament is to acknowledge and remember the dangers of avoiding lament and the gifts that I would miss out on. So what are some of the things that can happen when we don’t lament?
- Our emotions become the only voice we hear and the only lens through which we see and evaluate everything.
- We become calloused and cynical. We avoid the people and situations that feel painful, and end up withdrawing from God and others.
- Hopelessness sets in and we become paralyzed, rather than being moved toward appropriate action.
- We seek satisfaction, comfort and relief in empty things.
- We rush to our own solutions instead of waiting on God. We try to get around the suffering rather than moving through it.
- Grief always comes out, even if we try to bottle it up. It may explode in the context of our relationships, or be expressed through other emotions, such as anger or fear.
- The pain we’re experiencing now continues to be a raw wound that we carry around with us into the future—open, vulnerable, sensitive and never truly healed.
- In a corporate sense, we are less effective in connecting with and ministering to people who are suffering.
- We miss out on knowing God more intimately. We start feeling like God is distant because we’re not walking through it with Him.
- We miss the opportunity to grow in our faith and have our hearts shaped by God.