And Yet Lent Reflections: Lamenting

Lament is one of those words which can all too easily lose its meaning. We might understand it in the context of the book of Lamentations and in the voices of the prophets, but what does it look like in the world we live in?

Put simply, lament is bringing what hurts before God, or as author Mark Vroegpop writes “lament is how christians grieve”. It brings the twin realities of the power and goodness of God together with the pain and brokenness of the world. 

Lament is the bridge between our despair and our hope as it gives us a language to articulate our pain without letting go of our trust in who God is and in how He is working. The book of Lamentations is raw in its despair and questions; God’s people are far from home and far from hope. The Israelites must have felt as if their world had ended, their Promised Land was gone and all they could was stand amongst the ruins of their sin.

It’s into this place of hopelessness that the most familiar verse of Lamentations appears. 

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.”

This verse of hope doesn’t ignore the agony and horror of their situation, it fix what they’re going through – but it reorientates them. 

The Israelites are still far from home, the Temple still lies in ruin – but God’s love hasn’t run out and it never will. They are still loved, God’s hope is still real – He hasn’t given up on them. The word translated here as ‘great love’ is from the Hebrew word Hesed which means loving-kindness or steadfast love and it’s not wishy washy – it’s the unquenchable love of the Father for his children. 

And it’s the same love bestowed on us.

We may be aching under the weight of our grief, breaking beneath the pressures upon us and around us – but God’s love has not given up on us. It is as true and powerful for us as it was the day we first believed. 

This is the truth on which our laments rest – that God’s love has not run dry, his compassion for us hasn’t failed and it never will.

I encourage you to spend some time with this verse over the coming week; write it on a post-it or in your phone and be reminded that God’s love is the reason we can lament – and it’s the reason for our hope.

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:21-23

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