New Every Morning!

It is the start of a new year and yet many of us are all too aware that the world in 2009 is already stuffed with war, insecurity, poverty, and unrest. I find comfort in this passage from Lamentations 3. This lament is actually part of a carefully crafted acrostic poem Рbeautiful literature, especially  if you can read Hebrew! Michael Card writes about laments in his book A Sacred Sorrow.

If you struggle with the concept of suffering as a part of the Christian life you should read this book. Card explains the idea in a lyrical voice that will leave you softer and more at peace with God. The lament is a lost art in Western Christianity but Eastern Christians have understood its power for centuries. The idea is that instead of pretending you are not suffering or “claiming victory” without exploring the root of your actual feelings, you take your lament directly to God. As you pour out your honest thoughts and complaints, a natural shift will happen. Almost every lament Psalm takes this course. The path to praise is often through lament.

There is so much to this concept and I could take you through the literary structure of a lament for a really cool example of how it works, but you have parties to attend and exercise equipment to pull out of the closet. We’ll talk about it later. For now, here is a little soul food for your New Year in the form of lament!

17 I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.

18 So I say, “My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

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5 Comments

Filed under A Rare Find, General, Virtues

5 responses to “New Every Morning!

  1. Cheri White

    Thanks so much for the insights into the lament. I loved it! Don & I have often counseled people to pour out their true feelings and thoughts to God, and in doing so they would end up in praise — but we never knew it was an actual Eastern Christian art.

    I’m so glad you shared this concept!

  2. Thanks! You would love the book, Cheri. Michael Card goes into a lot more detail and it is rich.

  3. This is timely. I started off well, dreaming about how little it would take to make my life any happier since it is so full right now. But then I started feeling afraid because we know so little about what any year might bring and, as we know all to well, sometimes it brings really horrible trials. It didn’t matter that I ended my last trial with huge joy – I still dreaded the thought of ever facing another. I love what you say here about facing the trial with honesty and how that almost inevitably leads to praise. I definitely now feel “softer and more at peace.”

  4. This is fascinating. I’ll search out this book. It’s very true that often we don’t explore our true feelings in a hurry to cover over them or punch them down–and miss the opportunity to learn from them while God pulls us closer.
    Happy New Year to you!
    Becky

  5. Tracy Hernandez

    What a great post, Felicity. I have found myself over the past months becoming less and less discouraged by the suffering around us and more and more ENCOURAGED by how close God stays to us through it all. We are stopping so short if all we can see is the suffering. What an amazing and inconceivable God that can achieve magnificent things even from the most tragic of circumstances.
    I’m definitely going to pick up this book. I’m really intrigued by the concept that the lament is a healthy release of anguish through troubling times. Thanks for sharing your insight.

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