Lent Devotions: Day 20
Read: Lamentations 1:12-22
My groans are many and my heart is faint. (v. 22)
My grandmother suffers from chronic back pain, and when she is having problems I tend to respond by saying something upbeat like, “It’ll get better soon” or “But the pain is less than it was” or “Your medicine is helping, isn’t it?” I want the pain to go away, and I shy away from fully entering into her suffering. In the same way, I have a hard time reading Lamentations, because Jeremiah invites me to sit in the dust and ashes with him and keep him company.
Jeremiah does not attempt to cover up Israel’s agony; instead, he uses his words to participate deeply in her pain. He opens his senses and soul to his people’s deep aches, and his lament is a passionate report of this shared pain to God. Lament is not the opposite of joy. Lament is the counterpart to celebration. When we celebrate, we gratefully lift what is good in our lives to God. When we lament, we lift the pain and sorrow in our lives to God.
As we contemplate Christ’s suffering on the cross during Lent, we are also asked to look around and see the pain of our neighbors, our family, and ourselves. During this season our worship and devotion should include lament and the lifting of pain and sorrow to God.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus! —Cody Raak
Prayer: Lord, let us enter this season and lament. Hear us as we cry out to you.