Lament.

CrossJeremiah was a prophet. God called him to carry God’s words to God’s people. And God was pretty clear that the people wouldn’t pay attention to the warnings that Jeremiah was giving.

In the Bible book we know as “Jeremiah”, we read narrative about what happened as Jeremiah lived and talked. We read the messages God spoke to, and through, Jeremiah. And we read some of Jeremiah’s responses.

One of those gut-wrenching responses is this:

My sorrow is beyond healing,
My heart is faint within me!
Behold, listen! The cry of the daughter of my people from a distant land:
“Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not within her?”
“Why have they provoked Me with their graven images, with foreign idols?”
“Harvest is past, summer is ended,
And we are not saved.”
For the brokenness of the daughter of my people I am broken;
I mourn, dismay has taken hold of me.
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?

This Sunday, I’ll be reading that text for our chapel service at the hospital. I’ll be thinking of my friends in grief and pain and uncertainty.

And I will remember that a man like us, called by God, aware of God’s power and attentiveness, felt these feelings and wrote these words. It doesn’t bring fixing. It does mean, however, that our lament in the middle of our pain, is not itself a lack of faith or a lack of maturity.

Our lament is an appropriate response. And I will not tell you not to cry.