Often times in a biblical counseling session, I hear the counselee say, “I just do not know what to do with this hurt and this pain that the situation has caused me.”
In my opinion, this is because we do not teach in our churches how to biblically handle the heart of man. We teach all the best faith stories of Joseph, Abraham, Daniel and the lions, Jonah and the whale, and Moses, but we do not teach and disciple how to handle anger, hurt, pain, regret, and matters of the heart.
Ephesians tells us to be angry and do not sin, but it does not give directive in that passage on what to do with the anger. I encourage you to lament. Lamenting can be defined as to express grief, mourn, deeply regret, wail, or deplore. Lamenting is your honest, raw heart before God, turned to Him for His help. It is your honest condition or honest situation spoken before Him, and you are seeking His answer even if it requires you to wait. Crying can be a part of lamenting, but not always. Lamenting is different than crying because lament is a form of prayer and trusting in God.
A Freeing Practice
When a counselee begins to review the areas of their heart in the beginning phase of counseling, they see that their heart is carrying many different thoughts. Confusion on a particular relationship, anger, unmet expectations that have developed into bitterness, depression over many areas, and rejection from another are all areas they can be dealing with at one time. Yet, with the practice of continual lamenting and repenting, we learn to keep a current heart that is not carrying the pains of yesterdays. Lamenting brings freedom.
A Biblical Practice
Lamenting is biblical. Lamenting is necessary. Lamenting is pouring out of your heart before God. Jesus beckons your weary heart in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus is welcoming you to come just as you are. If you are weary, come. If you are overwhelmed, come. If you are depressed, come.
Both Psalm 62:8 and 42:3-4 give an invitation for you to ‘pour out your heart’. Did you know that one-third of the Psalms are lamenting Psalms?
In Psalm 18, King David is not afraid to speak of his distress, fears, and concerns. Verses 4-6 read, “The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” In this distress, he cried out. Through the distress, pain, grief, rejections, anger, fear, depression, weary, exhaustion, anxiety, and worry, you can cry out and tell God all about what you have faced and are facing.
A Faithful Practice
Lament is an act of faith. You present your heart in its current condition to God. You pray it all to Him, and you trust Him to handle it for you. You leave it with Him by faith, and you move forward in obeying Scripture, knowing that He has heard you and that your lament has reached His ears.
You can stop guarding your pain, hurt, or past, and you can give it to God, and by faith trust Him to work on your behalf.
“Laments turn toward God when sorrow tempts you to run from Him.”Mark Vroegop
When You Lament
Come to God just as you are.
Come confident in God’s love and grace in faith.
Come in prayer.
Bring your questions.
Bring your complaints.
Bring your frustrations.
Bring your heart.
Leave your requests at His feet.
Leave your confessions.
Leave trusting Him to work it out.
In my counsel, I recommend that you begin with one area of your heart at a time. I recommend that you write your lament to God by writing a prayer. It is something you can begin today. Below is one of my prayers of lament. You are welcome to copy it or format yours after it as you begin. Run to the Lord today.
Father, thank you that I can come to You. You are good, just, holy, true, full of love, grace and truth. Your mercy is new each day, and I come to You for you to wash my heart as Psalm 51 states. You know the pain that was done to me. You know the words that were spoken, and You know the deeds that were done. The sting of the situation keeps me from knowing what to do. It was so hurtful to hear those words and so painful to learn of their actions — I can barely process it. Anger is building, and resentment keeps me in spiraling thoughts. You are my Rock. You are my strength. You, Lord, are my healer. Only You. So, today I give you this pain, this hurt, the frustrations and anger. I know I might need to bring it before you again and again, but I trust You. I trust that You will glorify Yourself amid this pain that I feel and use it for Your glory. You are the Redeemer. Do you redeem even this? Yes, You do. Isaiah 61 says, “You give beauty for ashes and strength for my fear and gladness for my mourning and peace for my despair.” I am asking that you give peace for the despair of my heart, and I trust you to do so. So, by faith, I leave this with you. I walk forward knowing that You hear my heart and my prayer, and You have covered me by Your Son. It is in Your Son’s Name in which I pray this prayer. Amen.