Lord, How long?
So, so long have I waited.
I have longed, hungered,
And searched for You.
I have sought Your face O, Lord,
Not Your hem alone, but Your face.
My heart has longed after You,
After a look from Your eyes, after your face.
I have sought after You, O, Lord
While my enemies pointed at me and jeered.
They accused me again and again of sin,
They cast blame at my sorrowful, longing heart.
I wrestled without sleep.
I wept upon my bed.
I wailed to You, my Only Hope.
I waited day after day for You to turn my way.
I turned my cheek.
I remembered the saints of old,
And I prayed, and I prayed.
You answered, O, Lord.
You answered my groaning
With groans of Your own!
Hear our prayers, O, Lord,
Don’t allow us to sleep in spiritual death.
Give light to our eyes,
Give us the Light of Your Son!
Open our eyes, O, Lord,
That we may see Your salvation,
That we may see the depth of Your love
At the Cross, O, Lord, at the cross!
Open our eyes, O, Lord,
That we may see Your Way,
Your Truth, Your Life;
Awaken our hearts to Your love!
Awaken us from the Curse of this earth,
Awaken us to the urgency of Your call.
Awaken us to heal the brokenhearted,
Awaken us to Your glory over all!
I will sing of Your goodness,
I will sing of Your saving love!
I will sing of Your glory!
I will sing until You awaken us all!
– Jenny Coleman
I’m in a bereaved parent discussion group that is studying “Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy” by Mark Vroegrop. We are learning how to live “in the tension of pain beyond belief and divine sovereignty beyond comprehension” (p. 84) by turning to the Lord following the pattern for lament modeled for us in Scripture . I modeled my lament after the passages below:
1 How long, O LORD?
Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart each day?
How long will my enemy dominate me?
3 Consider me and respond, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes rejoice when I fall.
5 But I have trusted in Your loving devotion;
my heart will rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
for He has been good to me.
I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those sanctified by faith in Me.Acts 26:17-18
Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the revelation of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but because of the One who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until the present time. 23 Not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet see, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. 27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Voices of saints through the centuries have cried out in lament. The whole creation groans. “Not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. …In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words,” (Romans 8:23, 26).
To minimize suffering in this broken world is to diminish the great sacrifice of our Lord on the cross for us. To turn to the Lord with honest lament is to honor Him as the sovereign LORD of all.
Have you sought the Lord with tears? Have you longed, hungered and waited for Him with groans? Have you leaned into the groaning prayers of the Spirit? God “bends down to listen” (Psalm 116:2). “He is near to the brokenhearted,” (Psalm 34:18). He collects each tear in His bottle (Psalm 56:8).
Jesus, our great, empathetic high priest, who “In his life on earth made His prayers and requests with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and was heard because of His reverence,” (Hebrews 5:7). And “is able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them,” (Hebrews 7:25).
A few quotes from “Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy” by Mark Vroegrop:
Trust is believing what you know to be true even though the facts of suffering might call that belief into question.Lament keeps us turning toward trust by giving us language to step into the wilderness between our painful reality and our hopeful longings.Mark Vroegop, Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, p. 77
Why is waiting so difficult? Because it feels as if we’re not doing anything. And that’s the point. You’re not doing anything, but God is. However, waiting is one of the greatest applications of the Christian faith. You are putting your trust in God, placing your hope in him, and expressing confidence that he is in control. Waiting puts us in an uncomfortable place where we’re out of control of our lives. Remember in chapter 4, when I called this “active patience”? That season is when God will shape and define us the most.Mark Vroegop, Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, p. 115
Lament is the language of a people who know the whole story-the gospel story. They know how the entrance of sin into the world brought death and suffering. As we conclude our look into Lamentations, it is a good reminder that the message of the gospel is where lament should lead. The sorrow of loss can lead us to the man of sorrows because Jesus is the answer to the cause of every pain.MARK VROEGOP, DARK CLOUDS, DEEP MERCY, P. 150
“Too many people think real worship only means an upbeat and happy demeanor. But grief-filled prayers of pain while seeking God are among the deepest expressions of God-centered worship.”Mark Vroegop. Dark Clouds Deep Mercy. p. 160
Singing songs of lament has been a very moving experience for me.
I pray that you might discover the grace of learning to turn to God in Biblical lament through your own sorrows. For as Jesus taught, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5: 3-4). 🙏🙏🙏💕
“You show me the path to life;
Your presence fills me with joy,
everlasting delight is at Your right hand”
– Psalms 16:11