God’s Healing for Life’s Losses: How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting
Complaint: A Lament for Your Loss
Countdown to God’s Healing: I’m excited to announce that BMH Books will release my fifth book soon (in April 2010). To read a sample section of God’s Healing for Life’s Losses: How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting click here.
To pre-order your autographed copy at 30% off, visit here.
As we countdown to the release, I’ll be sharing periodic excerpts, such as today’s post: Complaint: A Lament for Your Loss.
Facing Destructive Anger
Anger is the typical “second stage” in the world’s grieving journey. After denial ends, the truth sinks in. Something bad, horrific has occurred. We’ve lost something or someone dear to us.
Our loss frustrates our desires and blocks our goals. It ticks us off. We’re mad. We want to lash out. At life. At the world. At . . . God.
This is where grief gets very confusing for the committed Christian. We love God; we know He loves us. We know God is good; we know life has now turned bad. So we want to know, sometimes we want to scream it, “How could a good God allow such evil and suffering!?”
God Invites Lament
But dare we ask? Do we dare verbalize our complaint, our lament to God?
I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t God judge the Israelites for complaining?”
There are different words and a distinct context between the sinful complaint of the Israelites in Numbers and the godly complaint/lament of Job, the Psalmists, Jeremiah, and many others. Biblical complaint complains to God about the fallen world. Ungodly complaint complains about God and accuses Him of lacking goodness, holiness, and wisdom.
We must remember that Satan is the master masquerader (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). His counterfeit for biblical complaint is unhealthy, destructive anger. Satan wants us to substitute cursing for complaint.
Job’s wife fell into Satan’s snare when she urged Job to “Curse God and die!” She encouraged him to give up on God, on himself, and on life.
Cursing God demeans God. It sees Him as a lightweight, as an arid desert and a land of great darkness (Jeremiah 2:5, 19, 29, 31). Cursing separates. Complaint connects. Complaint draws us toward God; hatred and anger push us away from God.
Biblical Complaint: Telling God the Truth
What then is complaint? In candor we’re honest with ourselves; in complaint we’re honest to God. Complaint is vulnerable frankness about life to God in which I express my pain and confusion over how a good God allows evil and suffering.
We needlessly react against the word “complaint.” “Christians can’t complain!” we insist. Yet numerically, there are more Psalms of complaint and lament than Psalms of praise and thanksgiving.
Complaints are faith-based acts of persistent trust. They are one of the many moods of faith. Psalm 91’s exuberant trust is one faith mood while Psalm 88’s dark despair is another faith mood. A mood of faith trusts God enough to bring everything about us to Him. In complaint we hide nothing from God because we trust His good heart and because we know He knows our hearts.
Join the Conversation
So what do you think. Can and should Christians “complain” and “lament” to God?