I just finished the last assignment for my Old Testament Literature and History course. It had to do with the Psalms of Lament. A lot of the Psalms are laments or complaints and they will often start out like:
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, and am not silent. (Psalm 22:1-2)
They often follow a pattern starting out with the complaint…God is ignoring me… everyone is laughing at me… I just want some peace,…why is life so bad… this is not the way things were supposed to be… They end with a recognition that God helped us in the past and we can count on him again in the future.
For some reason, we don’t often preach on these passages. After doing this study, that seems odd. These passages describe life! The world is not as it should be. Life is not what we expected. Bad things do happen. When these things happen, these Psalms say that it’s OK to be mad, its OK to get upset and let everyone know that you are mad, and in the end you have a God that you can count on to get you to the other side, but, it might not be easy.
It’s a message that we could hear more often rather than the one that says that we need to bear everything stoically, in silence, because if we don’t it shows that we somehow are lacking in faith.
Psalms of lament allow us to call a spade a spade.