While scouring emails, a letter slips into my inbox from a reader in response to this blog post. We’ve never met in person, yet her story reads eerily familiar and conjures emotion.
She tells me uncertainty looms. The threat of joblessness lurks like a villain in a horror movie, quietly creeping around her personal space. Waiting on details to unfold that determine next steps, her stomach is knotted by a bevy of what if’s.
In essence, my new friend is lamenting like a psalmist — Why? and How long? And then, without knowing it, she practices adoration. She remembers the truth about who God is and rehearses it back to Him.
“I am not alone. I have a Father who wants to reveal His glory to me (for my benefit) and through me (for the benefit of others) . . . God is already way ahead of this . . . He’s ready to carry me through.”
When you lament, God remembers you too.
“The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” Exodus 2:23-25
Whining or Winning
Lament turns God’s face toward us and whining makes Him angry. (Numbers 11:1)
The dissonance between the way things are and the way they should be leads to lament. And the difference between lament and whining is the axis of trust being steadfast or missing.
Lament looks through the lens of remembrance and frames God’s faithfulness. It creates a beautiful picture of presence when we feel abandoned in the haze of uncertainty.
“In our present distress, we, like the psalmists, can remember God’s goodness. We can choose to answer the whys of doubt with ‘But God isn’t like that’. . .. The point is not that God can deliver or has delivered, but that this God in whom we have trusted is our Deliverer.” ~Howard Macy
If your current restlessness is caused by the grief of unwanted circumstances, where in your stream of thoughts might God be asking you to remember that He is not like that?
What do you need that God is not able to deliver?
Release Unknowns and Be Released to Be Known
Hemmed in by what you cannot control, remembering God’s goodness through adoration turns despair into hope. Adoration transforms what we fear into the truth about who God is.
Maybe you are lamenting like Moses, “Why have you brought this trouble on me? What have I done to displease you that you have put this burden on me. I cannot carry this _____ on my own, it’s too heavy for me.”
Find helpers to share the burden and lighten the heaviness caused by uncertainty. Because we need people who can hold our arms up when weary from fighting battles. We need people who can discern the voice of God from the voices we hear in our head.
God said to Moses, “Gather together seventy men from among the leaders of Israel, men whom you know to be respected and responsible. Take them to the Tent of Meeting. I’ll meet you there. I’ll come down and speak with you. I’ll take some of the Spirit that is on you and place it on them; they’ll then be able to take some of the load of this people—you won’t have to carry the whole thing alone.”
At the end of a string of back and forth emails, my new friend writes something I read often in correspondence but have been mulling with new curiosity.
“Why is it easier to be transparent to you, whom I have never met, than my neighbor?”
Honesty. It’s the posture that orients God’s face to shine upon us as we wander into the unknown. It’s a good place to begin when we are asking Why? and How long?.