Lately there has been some discussion around the importance of "lament." Books, articles, blog posts, podcasts, all focused on the importance of telling God your complaints, of being honest in your grief.
God is big enough to handle our grief, and our complaints. Yes, there are the caveats: for instance, the "complaints" are not that God has wronged us or that he doesn’t care, but that this is really hard and I don’t understand . . .
Lament is important. However, just staying in lament is not helpful (and I am not saying the above blog posts, articles, etc. maintain to stay in lament). No one wants to stay in grief and confusion forever . . .
God, in his mercy and grace, inspired the psalmists to not only write songs of lament, but also to pen what have been called "songs of trust." These are psalms that contain statements of faith regarding what the psalmist knows about God. They are spoken in the midst of trial and grief.
I need to remind myself of these songs of trust. It is vital for me to meditate on God’s character and his ways, especially when the fires of affliction are intense.
Thank you, God, for your Word. Thank you for your steadfast love and faithfulness . . .
Psalm 11:1-7 ESV – To the choirmaster. Of David.
1 In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, "Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
4 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
When you just want to run away . . .
When everything logical says, “just get out of here!” . . .
What does the psalmist do?
He takes refuge in the Lord. He looks up.
Yet, he is realistic of how pressured he is. His enemies are at the ready; they are armed, and have him in their sights. The danger is real. The danger and the pressure are not imagined.
And, he asks the question – God, if you cannot be my refuge, if you are not sovereign and just, then what can I do? I may as well flee to the mountains.
Then, the psalmist tells himself the truth. Even though life is pressured and looks bleak – God is on his throne. God is sovereign. This current affliction is not happening because God lacks power to act, or because he doesn’t care. God sees everything. God is refining the psalmist.
When the pressure is intense, God is still sovereign. God has not turned his back on me. This affliction is refining my faith, is strengthening me. Because God is my refuge, because he is my Lord, my king – I will spend eternity with him. This pressure will not last forever. The enemies will not win.
The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven . . .