Lament defined is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. Yes, even misery. I have used this space to lament many, many times. I like to express my sorrow, my misery, because I DO NOT want to hold onto it. So, this space is where it is released. It is where I make space in my mind and in my soul for hope.
The Psalms are full of lament. I think I understand some of what David felt when he was writing his psalms of lament. I think I understand how it helped him keep moving forward when his days were tough. No doubt his challenges were often a bit more of a life and death matter than mine. Nonetheless, emotion is emotion in whatever situation we find it.
One of David’s lament psalms I have identified with the most is Psalm 51. Here’s an excerpt with highlighted portions done by me…
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
David understood misery. And pain. And hope. Those things can and do live together. Maybe my failure as I lament is that I do not include elements of hope that are evident to everyone. I don’t know that my writing is as good as it should be or the message as broad as it could be but I do know this; I understand what David understood. Writing out your pain can open the door to the hope that only comes from God.
While I often say I write only for myself, I do seek your comments. Do I lament too much? Do I seem like a miserable person? Do I need to include more hope? What would you say I need to do better as a writer?
Grace and peace.