Lament. Again. There’s something here that we need to keep working out… something here that I need to keep working out… I think it’s the part where sadness turns to trust in a God who covenants with us. Lament is not just the complaining…
I want to include two of the daily office passages, in their entirety, to highlight this. They are short.
“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me” (NIV).
"Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago” (NIV).
I am incredibly good at sitting with sadness. I think this is a huge part of what makes me who I am and also what makes me accessible to other people. In a world (and in a church) where the vast majority expect “shiny, happy people holding hands” (lyrically beautiful, but practically shallow); we need others who are willing to dwell in the dark nights, drenched by torrential rains, with the hope that unfailing love reaches us, even there.
Disney’s “Inside Out” does such a masterful, magical job of visually expressing the need for both joy and sadness in our lives, intermingled, because we are, after all, whole people—not compartmentalized, but in need of holistic emotions… relationships… theology… everything…
When we allow ourselves to lament, yes, sadness touches our lives and our memories. But it makes for something better, because it makes for something real… something we can actually hold onto.