Thursday, May 24, 2007

GOD on Mute Part 2

In his book GOD on Mute, Pete Greig spends time on “Learning to Lament (p. 82).” Grieg goes on and asks the question “Where, I wonder, is the mystery and the mess of biblical spirituality? What place is there in our happy-clappy culture for the disturbing message of books such as Ecclesiastes, Lamentations and Job?”

In our community of faith we have this thing called Refuge: a concept that there are some people who need to HIDE because the storms of life have been so vicious. They need a place where they can find safety, maybe connect with GOD on a different level or connect with a community of people who have been through it as well. I often wonder if it is in that safety where lament takes place?

To fell or express sorrow or regret for:
To mourn for or over
To feel, show, or express grief, sorrow, or regret
To mourn deeply

Greig writes “Lamenting is more than a technique for venting emotion. It is one of the fruits of a deepening spiritual life that has learned to stand naked before God without shame or pretense. In fact, long before Gethsemane, Jesus Himself has pronounced that those who mourn are blessed (See Matt. 5:4)! “Implicit in this statement,” notes Walter Brueggemann, “is that those who do not mourn will not be comforted and those who do not face the endings will not receive the beginnings.” Honest lament can express a vibrant faith; one that has learned to embrace life’s hardships as well as its joy and to lift everything – everything- to the Father in prayer. As the author Richard Foster says of the lament psalms, “They give us permission to shake our fist at God one moment and break into doxology the next.” (p. 85)



Misty B said...
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Misty B said...

Before I became a believer I used to avoid 'lament' at all costs. I mean really, what would be the point of spending time grieving? I focused on getting through the experience and finding a way to get things back to normal. Of course that didn't really work but I thought it did. I have experienced a lot of loss in my life and there was a fair bit to grieve. I think I still carry a lot of that with me years later.

I loved this statement:

"those who do not mourn will not be comforted and those who do not face the endings will not receive the beginnings"

It resonates the truth of what I have seen in my life. It's kind of funny (funny strange) but I think that pain actually makes more sense to me now than it did before I became a believer. When I say that I don’t mean that I have figured out why God allows us to suffer (although I do have some level of peace with that.) I just find that somewhere deep in my heart I can see that there is a force that is bigger than all this. And I am comforted. Somehow that just makes things seem so much less bleak.

I am not happy all of the time. I can’t even say that I have always been able to find hope from within myself. I am struggling to articulate the difference but it is just more well… meaningful.

The Space Between said...

I think lamenting is truly being vulnerable before God. And it's only in the deepest state of vulnerability that we're able to fully experience His love and nearness. All our guards are down, we're completely surrendered, and we're in a place where He's really able to connect to us.
I don't think God likes to see pain and suffering, but I do know that He uses it to speak to us. It's just a matter of whether we're brave enough to enter that place of intimacy - where we allow ourselves to feel the pain, to express it and to wait for Him to comfort.

nancy said...

Without the ability and freedom to lament we become prisoners of our emotions. God in our surrender to him allows us to truly feel, not just the pain but also the hope behind the pain. If we could not lament we could not be truly happy either. When we lose someone and fail to grieve, we are also denying the lose of something we cared for and loved and if we do that we are not being honest with ourselves let alone God. Transparency and surrender allow us to lament and to feel for without these there is little to live for.

Held Captive said...

Only two weeks ago I was told that my dad would never wake up from a coma and asked if we wanted to pull the plug. I had never really yelled at God before, but I went outside the hospital to a quiet place and I screamed and screamed at him. I told him exactly how I felt and I wept harder then I ever had before. After I had exhausted myself I felt a peace of knowing that God was truly in control of the situation and that he was by no means finished with my dad. Jesus' healing of the lame man; telling him to pick up his mat and walk, popped into my head as it was clear and ready for Him to speak. Everyday now I remember to go to Him when I'm discouraged and to trust Him with my Dad and everything else for that matter...
I bottled everything up before and received little comfort, now I let him know when I'm overwhelmed and I feel that comfort.