To lament means to beat your chest and cry out loudly. We don’t do that, generally, in our society. We have the tendency to keep our emotions bottled up. We don’t want other people to know we are upset. We don’t want anyone to know we have problems. Unfortunately, that is especially true for Christians. After all we must not be “good Christian” if we cry and can’t handle our problems.
The first chapter of the book of Joel is a call to cry and lament the desolation of their country. At that point in time it had been destroyed by invaders. The lives of every citizen was ruined. Then God called them together to lament.
Why? What is the point of lamenting?
In this situation God wanted the people to come together with a united heart, as a united nation, to call on Him.
God does not want us to be in pain and sadness, He wants us to call on Him to fix it. The purpose of lamenting or complaining is to acknowledge our pain and find a way, with God, to fix it.
As individuals, with our personal problems, the second purpose of lamenting out loud is to ask for help from Gods people. It is helpful and healing to have people acknowledge your problems and pain and pray for you. I know.
Years ago when I was going through a traumatic time I withdrew from my church family. The worse the situation got the more quiet I got. With God and my immediate family I got through it. I thought. Then, years later, I was on my way to a meeting at church and saw something that brought back all that pain. I couldn’t even walk into the building because I was crying so hard. I finally made it in and after the meeting I told them why I had been crying. They all got up and gathered around me, laid their hands on me and prayed. That was when I was healed! The burden of all that pain was gone.
When I think about that moment now it brings tears to my eyes, but not because of the pain but because of the love I felt from each of those precious people. I lamented, I cried out to God and His people, then healing came.
(Our pastor started a 3 part sermon on the book of Joel. You can listen to it Here.)
(The artwork was made with homemade stencil and stamp, with acrylic paint on paper.)