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Posts Tagged ‘lamentations’

IMG_3851While driving one day last week the words of a song were heard by my heart.

Being on the cusp of change I needed to be reminded of that which does not, and there is nothing like the words in the middle of the Lamentations to re-set one’s … laments.

“Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:21-26

The book of Lamentations is one of mourning, weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jerusalem had been destroyed. The city of the people of God, God’s place of residence, was destroyed.

The book is written in poetic forms … ah, how poetry can make more sense when we are bowed to our knees.

The Lamentations are a cry for God to restore his people (aka, they blew it, and were begging on their knees to be forgiven). In this book, God never speaks … it is as though he  let them, wanted them to cry out, so as to remind them of his mercifulness, even in the midst of their laments.

So, as I listened to the song, Do It Again, and heard the words that reminded me of the unfailing faithfulness of my creator, redeemer, sustainer God, I sighed with the confidence that “his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.”

The Lamentations reminds us, not only of the faithfulness of God (right in the middle of the laments), but that praise and lament/weeping can happen simultaneously. That God is faithful, in the good times, and in the times of sorrow, loss, confusion, sickness and heartbreak.

And if he has shown his compassion and faithfulness in the past, we can have confidence, hope that he will do it again.

Do It Again
-Elevation Worship
Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet
I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet
I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
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Ever cried in your pillow? How about punched something (a wall, a tree)? Ever stood in a forest and screamed at the top of your lungs? Or stared out the window, but your thoughts were so far away, you didn’t see anything? Ever sighed from a place so deep inside that you wondered if there was any air left in your body? Have you ever waved fists up in the air, while stating your sorrowful case before God?

Ever lamented?

Though the Bible has ample examples of lamenting (the Psalms, Job, and, of course, Lamentations are full of lamenting), it is not something that we often see, or do, in our churches. I am not sure that church is the place where lamenting should occur, but the absence of this practice (at church) can make people think that it is not something that we should do … period.

Often our christian circles can be so … clean, happy, perfect …

UNREAL!

We are not living on the side of eternity, we are living lives in this temporal, sin-filled worlds, with sin-filled bodies and minds. We live lives of sorrow, disappointment, worry, sickness, heartbreak and agony. To live authentically does not mean we paste a smile on our faces and sing Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).

To lament is to pound our chests, and, with fountains falling from our faces, cry out,

“God, I hurt!”

“God, I don’t know where you are in this!”

“God, did you leave me? Because I feel so alone.”

“God, why did you allow my enemies to do this to me?”

“My God, why did you …

forsake (abandon) me?”

David lamented.

Job lamented.

Jeremiah lamented.

Rachel lamented.

Jesus lamented.

To lament is to powerfully, passionately voice our sorrow, our agony. To lament is to pour out your heart. To lament is to be the most real we can be. To lament to to come to the end of our rope … resulting in the abdicating of power, of control of ability to do it alone, anymore.

When we lament, we speak, we cry, we moan in the most pure and beautiful language to God’s ears. To lament is to be on our way to acknowledging that we cannot do it (life) without Him.

God can handle our laments … our God has broad shoulders, and he wants us to lay the weight of our world on them.

 

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108930884708051549_nUBeMLyR_bIt is a Monday morning, a 90% chance of rain, it’s the end of January … ugh!

I received a note from my mother recently, mentioning that my blog posts had seemed rather ‘dark’ of late, causing her to read between the lines, and ask if I was okay. Moms have this ability to read between the lines.

As, I pondered her words, I remembered that I had, just that morning, led a devotion with my homeroom from Lamentations …

Lamenting

Dark

Mom was right (Mom is now more puffed up than my beasty when someone tells her that she is beautiful)! For one, it is January, and the dark of this month can get me down like nothing else (when will medical plans cover sunny holidays for those who live in the Pacific Northwest … heck, I would take freeze-your-but-off  sunny Edmonton over this weather). For another it is a month of past reflections that some years hits harder than others. Then there are all of the other complications of being married, having children (our own, and those of another mother and father), work with all it’s demands, finances, decisions, and so on, and so on and so on. All of this has a different effect on me in July, when the sun is shining, work is paused, schedules are relaxed, school is out and did I mention that the sun is shining?

1519615_f260So, I went to my past blogs, searching for the post with my lamenting song … don’t we all have one? And as I read How Long Oh Lord I was struck with how good that post was! And I thought, wow, I should share this one with my readers because you might not have read it before, and I have to say that (in my opinion) it is one of my better posts!

I was also impressed with the scripture that I had reflected on, Psalm 13, a lament of David, that ends in hope (doesn’t every lament in the Bible also offer hope?).

So, if you are feeling rather … January, check out How Long Oh Lord … and may it give hope to you as well.

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According to http://www.thefreedictionary.com, the doldrums are, “a belt of calms and light winds between the northern and southern trade winds of the Atlantic and Pacific.” Years ago, when wind power was utilized for blowing the sails of the ships of the day, ending up in the doldrums could result in sailors being stranded for days, or even weeks, without enough wind to move their sails … possibly resulting in death.

Samuel Coleridge, in his famous poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, described this nautical region:

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.”

The doldrums do not necessarily only have to do with a location in the ocean.

For many of us the doldrums might be related to the C. S. Lewis phrase, “always winter, but not never Christmas.”

In full force and with no doubt … the winter doldrums land. Oh, it is not immediate, it starts slowly with an increasing difficulty to get out of bed in the mornings. There is the appeal of bedtime, anytime after dinner. There is the recoiling whenever some new responsibility or activity or meeting is added to the calendar. There is a lack of excitement about just about anything.

Like the doldrums out in the waters, the winter doldrums back on land can be quite a time of thirsting for refreshment that is so needed, the sun. Our days are shorter, and for those of us living in the monsoon belt, the skies are so much darker. Our bodies are lacking from the natural infusion of Vitamin D from our solar buddy. In our weakened physical states we are more susceptible to the viruses and colds of the flu season. We are also more susceptible to feeling unmotivated, down in the dumps, sad.

It is believed that approximately 1 in 4 people suffer with some sort of Seasonal Affective Disorder/depression due to the doldrums of winter. It can start as early as October and last until into April. For many being intentional about taking vitamins, eating healthy and getting outdoor physical activity can make the season more bearable. For others a ‘sun lamp’ saves the day. For others still, medication might be needed.

For myself it was moving to the Pacific Northwest that introduced me to the winter doldrums. Each year is different, and is accompanied by one common thread … a heaviness of heart that descends upon me like the weight of one of those x-ray blankets that the dental office uses when filming ones mouth.

The doldrums are a period of moaning, groaning … of lamenting. Lamenting like the prophet of Jeremiah in his recording of his lamentations in the Bible. Even though he recorded miseries, weeping, desolation and destruction, right in the midst of the doldrums is his reason for hope:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Just before it, Jeremiah speaks of how his “soul is downcast within him” and just after he speaks of being alone, with his face buried in the dust.

May we all, while in the doldrums, or lamenting, be able to say, great is your faithfulness!

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