Friday, June 3, 2016

God Welcomes our Lament!

1 Kings 17:17-24
After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill; his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. She then said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!” But he said to her, “Give me your son.” He took him from her bosom, carried him up into the upper chamber where he was lodging, and laid him on his own bed. He cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?” Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” The LORD listened to the voice of Elijah; the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. Elijah took the child, brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and gave him to his mother; then Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.” So the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”
I have often wondered
if this is the first recorded
use of CPR!  :-)

On a serious note,
I am glad you are a God
who not only can handle our cries of pain
but also welcomes us to express our grief to you
even shaking our fist and blaming you.

I'm afraid too often
we think it bad or unfaithful
to cry out and shout out and ask you,
"Why? this had to happen?!"
We have lost the importance of lamentation.

And yet, the widow cries out against you.
Elijah questions your wisdom and care,
"Why this had to happen?!"
Indeed, the Psalmist does the same in Psalm 22,
and so does Job,
and so does Jeremiah the Prophet,
and so does Jesus...
Although we have forgotten it,
there is a WHOLE book of the Bible called,
That is raw and painful and full of pathos.

In our times of inexplicable
grief and pain, numbness and depression,
in the dark nights of the soul,
you want us to cry out to you!
Blame you!
Hurl our angry insults!
Beat against your chest!

For only then, when we have expressed
the fullness of our hurt,
only then can we experience
the completeness of your love for us,
holding us close
when we are convinced you are so far away.

Only then can we confess with the widow:
"Now I know that you are God,
and that the word of the LORD is truth."

I'm reminded of my friend's helpful lament at a funeral recently, "This sucks." Read more here:

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