Summary: Laments are not just for the past, but we need to learn how to Lament and communicate with God.
At an Optometrist's office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
2. In a Podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."
3. On a Plastic Surgeon's Office door: "Hello. Can we pick your nose?"
4. At a Towing company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want your tows."
5. On an Electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts."
6. In a Non-smoking Area: "If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and put you out."
7. On a Septic Tank Truck sign: "We're #1 in the #2 business."
8. At a Car Dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet -- miss a car payment."
9. Outside a Muffler Shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."
10. At the Electric Company: "We would be delighted if you send in your payment. However, if you don't, you will be de-Lighted."
11. On a Plumber's Shop: "We repair what your husband fixed."
If God had an office…What kind of sign would He have? Maybe it would say: “Can’t fix what isn’t broken.”
Often in our society and in the church we think being broken, having struggles and needing help is a terrible, horrible thing. It is not! Often God needs us to go through life’s valleys before we can reach the mountain top.
We see the Psalms as songs as worship. When we think of worship we think of praise, shouting for joy, praising God for all the good in our lives. But did you know that about 60 of 150 psalms are laments? What’s a lament?
A lament is: A type of psalm in which the speaker in the poem defines a crisis and invokes God for help.
Five ingredients are usually present in a biblical lament psalm:
1. invocation or cry to God;
2. definition of the crisis (which the psalmists often call a complaint);
3. petition to God to deliver;
4. statement of confidence in God;
5. vow to praise God.
These lament poems are occasional poems, that means they arise from a specific event in an individual’s or nation’s life. For example:
1. Psalm 3 was written when David fled from his Son Absalom.
2. Psalm 51 was written after the prophet Nathan confronted David on his affair with Bathsheba
3. Psalm 54 was written when David was hiding from King Saul
4. Psalm 60 was written after David had been defeated in a military attack.
5. And so on!
When you see that about 40% of the Psalms were laments and if you consider the Book of Psalms to be the Israelite’s song book for worship you may begin to wonder why we don’t have more laments in our hymnals and worship choruses.
I love our hymns and modern choruses, but when you look in the hymnal and new songs there is not much for laments. The ones I did find in the hymnal were under the heading funerals.
When I used the criteria of a lament I found two, possibly 3 hymns; Abide with me, Does Jesus care and Love Lifted me. A modern day song would be Blessed be your name when the worlds all as it should be. Now there may be more, but when you line them up to the psalms even these ones may not be complete laments.
All the rest seemed to be more third person or focused more on solution like; God will take care of you, He giveth more grace and No one understands like Jesus. Remember that a lament arises from a specific event in an individual’s or nation’s life. And it includes: a cry to God; definition of the crisis; a petition to God to deliver; a statement of confidence in God; and vow to praise God.
The laments in the Psalms started out with a plea and went on to share the struggle. Most of our music goes right to the answer, Jesus is the answer, there should be no struggle, it will pass. However, Biblically, we need to voice our struggles and pleas to God.
I love reading some of the old spirituals from the cotton fields of the south. Many of these old spirituals included laments and rightfully so because of the atrocities of the slave trade.
One of the old Spirituals was called “I’m troubled in mind”
Oh, Jesus, my Saviour, on Thee I'll depend
When troubles are near me you'll be my true friend
I'm troubled in mind
If Jesus don't help me
I surely will die
When ladened with troubles and burdened with grief
To Jesus in secret I'll go for relief
In dark days of bondage to Jesus I prayed
To help me to bear it, and He gave me His aid