I recently read Mark Vroegop’s book about lament entitled Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy. It gave me a perspective that I really appreciate, and has become a resource that I often recommend to those I counsel. But I’ve been realizing during this season that I really need to learn how to practice lament myself.
According to Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, the first step of lament is to turn to God. It sounds simple enough, but sometimes this initial turning is the hardest part. Feelings of cynicism or hopelessness can lead us to seek our own solutions. For me, I tend to either plow ahead and try to fix or control the situation, or I just numb my emotions with distractions like food and tv because it feels like too much to think about. We turn to all the wrong places looking for hope and comfort.
Though I often cry out to God in short bursts, what I really need is to fully turn, sit with Him, and be still. The pain and fear are hard to face, but I know my good Father is inviting me: “Come, you who are weary.” “Seek My face.” “Abide in My love.” “Take refuge in Me.” How foolish it would be for me to ignore that sweet invitation. These are not things I can solve or face on my own, and ignoring or numbing the pain won’t bring about any good fruit. My Father is inviting me to run into His arms, to know His love and mercy, to be shaped by His truth, to find hope in His redemptive work. My heart breaks over the brokenness of the world, and I don’t want to turn away and pretend not to see. Lament is designed to take us on a journey, and the first step is to turn and run into the open arms of our Father, who has entered into our broken world and is redeeming people to Himself.