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The Healing Power of Lament

The cross has the answers to all of life’s problems. Perhaps the lament from the cross is the greatest example for us. It is absurd to believe that our lives on earth should contain only goodness and joy. We live in a world created by love and goodness but corrupted by sin. Our DNA demands love from a fallen world, and we are stunned when it does not provide what we are seeking.

We are looking to the world for the love that is only sustained through a relationship with the Creator. So many of us tear apart our own lives in our efforts to make life work without the love of God. I find it is impossible to connect with God’s love if I do not learn the healing power of lament. That momentary darkness that Jesus agonized over from the cross was misunderstood by the crowds. When He cried out:

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? (which means My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?) Matthew 27:46.

They thought he was crying for Elijah to save Him from His pitiful state. The gospel writers specify the statement in its original language so we can understand the total misinterpretation of those who mocked Him. Eloi and Elijah seem to be similar when spoken from a man brutally beaten and nailed to a cross. The crowd assumed Jesus was pleading to be taken off the cross of suffering; they had no idea He was lamenting the spiritual phenomena of what Hell tastes like—utter separation from God.

These words represent the true agony of the cross. This lament is one I will never cry from my own soul because Jesus cried it for me. I will never experience the utter separation from God that my personal sins would call for, because I have put my faith in what Jesus did on that cross to open the door to a personal, eternal relationship with God. God desires that all men be saved in the same manner that Jesus saved me (2 Peter 3:9).

When it was all accomplished (the ninth hour), Jesus’ next words were, “I thirst.” His lament brought Him to a personal awareness that though He could not understand fully why, He could trust the love of God. His soul moved from spiritual agony to an awareness of His physical agony. He took the drink He had refused earlier, because it was now time to release His Spirit from His fleshly body. He spoke His last words of complete trust in God His Father, committing Himself into His hands.

We live in a fallen world subject to pain and difficulty all our lives. We will never make spiritual progress if we insist on remaking this world into something it can never be in its fallen condition. Our efforts are better rewarded when we constantly look to God, in the midst of our agonies and our triumphs, always knowing He is working all things together for our good. While I will always need to lament along the way, I will find hope only by believing and trusting in the Love of God.

 

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