Bring Your Complaints
1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2 In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. 3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. 4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” 5 His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. 6 He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.” 7 His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. 8 He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; 9 he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. 10 The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. 11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” 12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. 13 Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? 14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. 16 The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. 17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
After we take the first step of turning to God in prayer, the next is bringing our complaints to him. There’s a tension here. I’m sure you already feel it. Complain isn’t a very positive word. We don’t like complainers. It seems like the wrong response to situations where we should be content or thankful. But is that always the case? Is complaining always wrong? (p. 42).
“Writers of laments and complaints in the psalms often seek to make their ‘case’ against God, frequently citing God’s promises in order to complain that God seems to be forgetting his promises. They throw the promises of God back at him.” You see, without a complaint, there would be no lament. (p. 43).
Biblical lament offers an alternative. Through godly complaint we are able to express our disappointment and move toward a resolution. We complain on the basis of our belief in who God is and what he can do. (p. 44).
Lament is the language of a people who believe in God’s sovereignty but live in a world with tragedy. (p. 44).
Baring Ones Soul
Have you ever been wronged by someone? Have you ever watched as people were unfairly treated? That is painful enough. What makes the situation even more challenging is when the perpetrator seems to get away with it. The lack of consequences or resolution is maddening. Complaint gives voice to our hard questions.go (pp. 46-47).
Rather than allowing painful circumstances to rule him, creating bitterness or despair, he lays out his angst. The specificity sharpens the prayer. The frustrations expressed in lament push him further toward God, not away. (p. 51).
If you’re going to offer a complaint to God, it must be done with a humble heart. Proud, demanding questions from a heart that believes it is owed something from God will never lean into true lament. Before you start complaining, be sure you’ve checked arrogance at the door. Come with your pain, not your pride. (p. 52).
Remember, the lament psalms are there for a reason. Start complaining by praying the Bible. (p. 53)
Biblical complaint doesn’t work if you aren’t honest with God about your pain, your fears, or your frustrations. Talk to him as a loving Father. Remember that you have a Savior who understands your struggles (Heb. 4: 15). (p. 53).
Complaint is central to lament. But Christians never complain just to complain. Instead, we bring our complaints to the Lord for the purpose of moving us toward him.
Vroegop, Mark. Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy (p. 54). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
Personal Example of Lament