As we walk with God through lament, He reorients our mind toward truth by His Word. But He also works to shape our heart, to grow in us a deeper love and longing for Him and His Kingdom. The God-focused, reorienting nature of lament makes it an act of worship, which in turn amplifies and deepens our worship.
“Every feeling that turns toward God actually becomes part of our worship.”
The work of lament in my own heart is stretching and humbling; it’s pulling me in deeper. It’s been leading me to behold more of the surpassing greatness of God and be satisfied in Him. Here are some of the ways that I’ve seen God use lament to shape hearts:
- Aligning our heart to love what God loves. He values life and people. He stands for what is good. He loves justice and redemption, truth and grace. Instead of just chasing our desires and loving ourselves, lament can conform our loves to His.
- Growing in us an increasing distaste for what God opposes. Rather than turning a blind eye to the brokenness in the world, and in our heart and life, we can acknowledge and grieve our own sin, as well as the ravages of sin and brokenness that we bump up against each day.
- Giving us an increasing longing for redemption and the motivation to join God in this work. It may mean forgiving someone who has hurt you and working to pursue reconciliation, or sharing with others the invitation of the Gospel to be reconciled to God through Christ. We reach out to others, especially those who have been marginalized, and invite them to come near.
- Having our expectations shaped by His purposes. Lament can increase our eternal perspective and give us open eyes to see how God is at work. A change in perspective and expectations transforms how we pray. We still pray for tangible gifts such as healing and financial provision, but we go further to ask for help that is rooted in God’s redemptive purposes—heart change, reconciliation, dependence, perseverance, increased faith, humility, and so on. Lament helps us lean into the painful things we face and look for resurrection.
- Making our heart tender toward God and people. As we experience God’s comfort and compassion toward us, our love and trust in Him grows stronger. As we see our own brokenness and weakness, and God’s mercy in response, we’re equipped with grace to love others and walk patiently with them.