The Path from Lament to Praise

"The route from obedience to praise in the psalter is only through lament"

One of the classes I am in is Old Testament Foundations, and this week we did "Songs of Exile: Psalms, Lamentations, and Song of Songs". I found this to be a very comforting and freeing lecture.

The most common type of psalm in the psalter is a song of lament, however all but one of them has moved to praise by time they are finished. Indeed, the entire book of Psalms, in a rough way, is organized to move from Lament to Praise, beggining in and encompassed by obedience. The whole process culminates in the last Psalms in the book, which are the most extravagent songs of praise in the bible.

In my own life, I have found that having faith in Christ and a relationship with God has often led me into a time of lament. Its not a uniform thing; and no I don't view God as some angry God bearing down on me. I lament over the state of the church, the lostness of the world, the delirious tragedy which is our world. Certainly, there are times of Joy, and I am very thankful for all the good things God has given me; I can hardly claim to have had a hard life, compared to my fellow canadians, not to mention anyone not living in a first world country. Yet, I am moved by compassion, and often at the edge of despair because of my inability to do anything about the awful things around me. Meanwhile, I have felt faintly guilty about these feelings and thoughts; after all, Jesus has died for our salvation, and he is returning to take us to our heavenly home.

Now I see that though we are to take joy in all things, that doesn't have to be some immediate response, I can and should live through my lament, crying out to God to do something, so that I can come to an honest place of praise and be strengthened to cotinue to live in obedience. I can't honestly see how it works, there just are not 3 steps from lament to praise, and if you read the psalms it is all rather sudden, but I can testify from experience that it really can work this way; of course it can be a much longer and more painful process as well. No matter what though, God is who we can turn to with our cries, and not only can we but we must.

If you couldn't cry out to God about injustice, pain, suffering, and evil then how long would it be before no one cried out at all?

1 comment:

PakG1 said...

It's horrible when we're not able to move to praise, primarily because it seems like a chicken or egg question, half the time. There is edification in the unpraiseworthy because He is worthy?