Summary: The fourth and final step of the lament is choosing to trust in the Lord. This step is critical and it is a decision. It is not a one time decision, but one we must continue to make. The good news is that God will help us to keep trusting Him.
A. I like the story told about the great Christian reformer, Martin Luther, who once spent three days in a black depression over something that had gone wrong.
1. On the third day his wife came downstairs dressed in her funeral clothes.
2. Martin Luther asked her, “Who died?”
3. His wife replied, “God died.”
4. Luther rebuked her, saying, “What do you mean, God died? God cannot die.”
5. “Well,” she replied, “the way you’ve been acting I was sure He must have!”
B. When things go wrong, like in the case of Martin Luther, or when we experience great loss, like in the case of Mark and Sarah Vroegop, our reactions can reveal what or whom we are trusting in or what or whom we are not trusting in.
1. Corrie Ten Boom, who suffered much and lost much in a Nazi concentration camp, said: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
2. This is the essence of what I want us to talk about today, and what I hope we will grow in our ability to do – trust our unknown future to our known God.
C. The words of the English poet William Cowper (pronounced Cooper) are so full of meaning and depth.
1. Cowper struggled with debilitating bouts of depression, even landing him in an insane asylum for a time.
2. Throughout most of his life, he wrestled with how to turn his sorrow into trust.
3. Cowper wrote many hymns, including “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” and “O for a Closer Walk with God.”
4. But the hymn that is believed to be the last hymn he wrote, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” has many important lessons for our topic today – Choosing to Trust in the Lord.
5. Let’s spend a minute looking at the words of the hymn:
a. God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.
b. Deep in unfathomable mines, Of never failing skill. He treasures up His bright designs, And works His sov’reign will.
c. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds ye so much dread, Are big with mercy and shall break, In blessings on your head.
d. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.
e. His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flow’r.
f. Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan His work in vain; God is His own interpreter, And He will make it plain.
6. This is a great hymn for us to turn to in our times of suffering and loss.
7. I appreciate Cowper’s candid statements about dreaded clouds, frowning providence, and bitter taste.
a. Cowper clearly lived in the real world of human sorrow and pain.
8. Yet in the midst of his honest suffering, Cowper is able to express hope and trust in God.
a. The dreaded clouds are full of mercy, the frowning providence hides a smiling face, and the bitter bud becomes a sweet flower.
D. In the midst of suffering all kinds of hardships, we can learn how to choose to trust in the Lord.
1. Lament, as we have been learning, is the language for this transition.
2. Through lament, songs of sorrow are meant to move us from complaint to confidence in God.
E. From the very beginning of this “Good Grief” series, our goal has been to be able to use lament to envision and move toward trust.
1. In our series so far, we have learned about the importance of turning toward God, not away.
2. We have learned about the importance of bringing our complaints to God with humility and honesty.
3. Last week, we learned about the important next step of bringing our requests to God.
F. Now we are ready for the final step of lament – trust.
1. The final step of trusting is a choice – a decision.
2. Many people never take the first step of turning to God.
3. Some people get stuck in the complaint stage and never move beyond it.
4. Other people bring their requests to God, but they really don’t bring them to God with faith and confidence in God.
5. This last step is not easy, but it is vital.
G. Choosing to trust in the Lord is not a one and done decision, rather it is a decision we have to make each day of the week, and each moment of the day.
1. When we face suffering, grief and loss, we will have to do more than make a single, initial decision to trust God.