Last night we attended one of the Good Friday services at our church. I left it feeling different and better than I remember leaving a Good Friday service before.
We talked, sang, prayed and voiced many laments. We felt the pain of each other through struggles with depression, cancer, racism, and the list went on and on.
But we also talked about the difference between a lament and a complaint. A complaint is what you do when you are upset and you don’t believe anyone else cares and you don’t believe anyone has the power to fix it. A complaint is what you do when you believe that the manager of the restaurant doesn’t care about whether your steak was rare or raw (when you ordered medium well). A complaint is what you do when you see things happening in the government and in the world that you don’t agree with but you don’t think anyone can or is willing to fix it.
A lament is a complaint with hope. A lament is where you voice your concerns and you know someone is listening. Someone who has the ability and the willingness to do something about “it.” A lament is a complaint with hope.
I know my Dad has cancer. I know God will do something about it. I don’t know when but someday, somewhere, he will be healed.
I know that there are many Christians around the world who are being persecuted and really really struggling. I know God will do something about it.
It changes your outlook. When you complain with hope, if your hope is in the maker of heaven and earth, then your complaint is a lament. It’s a realization of how broken this world is. It’s an understanding of the pain that you are facing and the pain others face.
All supported with the grace and love that comes from our Father. He is the one who ripped the curtain from top to bottom. He’s the one who raised not only Jesus but many others on this weekend. He’s the one who can take our lament and hear it and say, “Come my child, I’ll take care of this. I’ll take care of you. Not because you deserve it, but because I love you.”
So bring your laments to God. He can take them. He wants them. But do so with the hope and the belief that somehow, some way, His way, he will make all things new.
This weekend, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, is the foundation that keeps all of our complaints and turns them into Laments. Because of Jesus, we can have hope. We do have hope.
Sunday’s coming. Tomorrow.
But the next Sunday is coming too. The time when all of our laments will see the hope and the grace that they have been founded on and all of the laments will disappear.
Because our hope is realized.
Yesterday was Friday. But Sunday’s coming.
And because of that, we have hope inside of the pain and suffering in our world, in our family’s world, in our nation and in all of God’s world.