Lamenting the OT way.

Imagine for one second that you are God, not the god you usually imagine yourself as when you are going about your everyday business, but God. God who made everything. The garden of Eden is ticking over nicely but you know there’s trouble ahead, you are God after all. So you decide it’s a good time to get something written down, something tangible that these humans can refer to and trust. The story of you and them. A library, if you will, of books to help them live right. But what to include? That’s the question. What would you include? I’ll give you a moment to chew on that.

Back already? Not sure what kind of reflection that is on the type of God you are… anyway interesting isn’t it? I’ll be honest I struggled. In fact I cheated. Rather than thinking about what I would put in, I kinda looked at the Bible and thought about what I wouldn’t put in. Of the top of my head there would be the weird stuff, the seeming contradictions, and the bits which Dawkins refers to in his now famous quote.

But there is one thing that I definitely wouldn’t put in and that is all the lament and whining! All the people questioning if God has got it right and shouting at Him because of the way things work! Did you know, for example that the psalms contain more lament that thanksgiving! THAT’S CRAZY!

And it all begs the question why? Why would God do this? Why would He allow it? I think it’s clear by now that it’s a good thing none of us are God, that God’s way’s and thought’s are more than slightly better than ours. So I guess He’s ok with it. I guess He’s not phased by it, that He perhaps knows us better than we know ourselves.

Many of you, like Heather Joy and myself, know what it’s like to lament, but I’m guessing we also feel guilty for it. We try to put it in the context of the wider world. But maybe, just maybe there is room for lament in our walk with God. Maybe He’s ok with it, maybe honesty is more important to Him than forced smiles and fake claims of being ‘ok’.

Psalm 42 (NIV)

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and 6 my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

~                    ~                      ~                     ~

Nick writes at Ebs and Flows, a Christian blog that is one of my personal favorites to frequent. It’s always a source of encouragement and a place of challenge for me. Check it out if you haven’t already! Nick has also written a couple of guest posts here at Grow Up! before, which you can read {here} and {here}.

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About Nick

Nick lives in Scarborough with his wife, Anna, and Little Welford, their adopted son. Nick is currently a Baptist Minister in Training with an Anglican placement!

Posted on August 18, 2011, in Guest Post and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. God always wants us to be honest with Him. I mean, what is the point of being fake when he already knows our heart? Plus, it is just better to be honest. That is something I have had to deal with many times. I have found if I just go to God when I am troubled, it does make things better. I have asked Him “Why?” before in moments of lament, and even though I don’t always get the answer, I get peace about it. I am reminded that He is in control! It is a great blessing to have a Father we can turn to!

    Whining . . . BLAH! I can’t stand whining!

    • I heard one speaker comment that a lot of people in the Bible ask ‘How long?’ rather than ‘Why?’ I’m not that disciplined yet!

      I feel the same about whining but I know I’m probably guilty of it!

      Sometimes I read bits of the Bible and it does sound like whoever is talking is having a whine – I’m talking to you Elijah ‘I’m the only one left’!!

  2. I particularly like that line at the beginning: “not the god you usually imagine yourself as when you are going about your everyday business, but God.”

    A few years ago (as I mentioned in the guest post yesterday) I had to come back to God. I basically reset, started over from the beginning with God. To do so, I read through the Bible from beginning to end, and I emulated the good parts I read (seeing as I basically copied all the wickedness!) to grow. I also noticed all of the “whining” and, as you said in the comment above, the lack of “Why?” I recalled the two different “Why?” replies from Zechariah and Mary when the angel was before them. My prayers became, “God, I do not understand what is happening, just help me get through. But please make it quick! If not give me the strength.”

    There have been a few times in the last year I and my wife have wanted to ask “How long?” or “Why?” Instead we have been praying one of our “stupid prayers,” “God, be glorified in us!” Is it easy right now? By no means, but He is definitely faithful!

    Thanks, Nick!

  3. Great mssaege of God's love. There have been many times when God blessed me after I slipped. It's always a reminder of His unconditional love. He longs to shower us with His love!Thanks for the post. God bless:)

  4. Reblogged this on Ebs and Flows… and commented:
    Hey everyone it’s been a busy weekend so I’m cheating and posting a blog that I did for Grow Up! awhile ago… hope you like it

  1. Pingback: Lamenting the OT way « Ebs and Flows…

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