What do you do when life hasn’t gone in the direction you hoped? When you’re in the midst of pain and suffering, it can feel like nothing good can come from your circumstances. You have questions without answers. You have problems for which there seem to be no solutions. Your mind naturally runs to thoughts of “Why God? Why is this happening to me? Are you even there?”
One of the most helpful places to turn in times of crisis is the Psalms, specifically the “Psalms of Lament.” Almost ⅓ of the 150 Psalms recorded in Scripture are lament psalms- prayers of pain, confusion, and anger that draw attention to what’s wrong in the world, asking God to intervene. Psalms of lament generally begin with a description of the lament- a pain the author is experiencing or an evil the author is enduring. The author also petitions God, listing reasons why He should act on the author’s behalf and requesting Him to punish or destroy whatever or whomever is inflicting pain.
These psalms resonate with us because lament is an appropriate response to the evil and confusion we see in the world and experience personally. But what makes the lament psalms so amazing are the conclusions drawn by the authors. In the midst of pain, suffering and evil, an expression of promise is offered, to praise God regardless the circumstances.
The Christian life is filled with mystery and tension, and answers don’t always come quickly (sometimes they don't come at all). When facing life’s difficulties, perhaps we can follow the pattern of the lament psalms- telling God our pain and trusting Him for peace.
- Have you ever witnessed someone praise God despite difficult circumstances? If so, how did that person’s faith influence your own?
- As you consider your current circumstances, what is one thing you can do to begin to focus less on what is going wrong and more on what God is making right?
- If you’re currently in the middle of difficult times (or when you are in the future), what are some practical things you can do to remind yourself that God hasn’t abandoned you or forgotten you? What role can your Home Group play in boosting your faith?