Transformed by Lament

Today’s Treasure

 

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV

 

Hannah’s countenance changed through her lament:

Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

1 Samuel 1:18 ESV

God moved in her pain and turned her heart toward His presence and grace. Hannah left this intimate time with her God, refueled and energized to face Peninnah and another year of waiting on Him.

In my own personal periods of lament, God spoke to me through His Word, reminding me of His past faithfulness and that I could trust Him in this dark grief. Relief from grief did not always follow such lamenting, but I knew that His Word was my only hope. Lamenting did not always change my countenance but resulted in exhausted surrender to God’s love where I received enough hope for the next moments.

Hannah is not alone as an example of lamenting before the Lord and experiencing transformation. The prophet Habbakuk is one of many others who did not hesitate to cry out to God in the middle of seeming injustice and cultural chaos:

Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.

Habbakuk 1:3-4

Habbakuk wrestled with God, trying to understand how his country could be so broken when it belonged to God. Read this small book to see Habakkuk’s wrestling match with God that resulted with this declaration:

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV

 

LIFE-GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT

 

Do you feel hopeless, incapable of tolerating any more pain, torment, betrayal, or disappointing news? God invites your questions and doubts. Take some time away from the distractions of your daily life and ask the Holy Spirit to open your mind and heart to God’s truth. Write out your fears and cry out to God for answers. Ask God to remind you of His past faithfulness, writing out a list of tangible blessings. Now make a list of what torments and discourages you.

Over each broken place, with your will, choose to worship God with words similar to Habakkuk’s prayer:

Though_______________(the diagnosis is terminal, my husband has left me, I lost my job, my child refuses to let me see my grandchildren, etc.) yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” I will choose the Life Road and trust God to enable me to walk by faith.

Do this exercise with your will; don’t wait for your emotions to align with your worship.

 

STORE UP MORE TREASURES

 

At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the interview "Help and Hope for the Caregiver: A Conversation with Peter Rosenberger" so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:

In this interview, Peter Rosenberger author of Hope for the Caregiver, candidly discusses the pressures a caregiver experiences when solely responsible for his or her spouse’s physical needs. He humbly admits that he has made every mistake possible and is passionate about helping other caregivers avoid those pitfalls.

 
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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at dailytreasure@gmail.com.

Sharon BettersComment