No one likes to be sad. Mourning and weeping and wailing are quite out of line in our modern pursuit of happiness.
But the Bible knows better and so should we. There are many true and beautiful things upon which we may cast our minds (Phil. 4:8), but there are also many hateful and destructive things which we may not ignore.
In light of our land’s highest court rejecting God’s Word and image outright, I have a confession to make: my greatest discouragement currently is not the state of our culture or nation, but it is the happiness of the church. So many blogs and emails from people I respect are looking for the silver lining in this cloud, the bright side of a dark day. I find myself tempted toward the same thoughts:
“Now the church can get on with being the church. Now nominal Christianity will be lose its grip on America.”
“The church has always done better, been more faithful to Jesus, when we’re the minority. Persecution can only help us.”
Perhaps. In fact, we should even pray this way.
But can we just take a moment for lament? Or a few moments? (James 4:9)
Rather than immediately looking for the bright side or plotting our next move in these culture wars, God’s Word would lead us back into the presence of God to simply mourn.
Those of you who are familiar with the Psalms ought to be good at this. Psalms of lament comprise, arguably, the largest single category of songs in the Psalter. This isn’t a mistake. God’s people have, by and large, lived through dark days and needed songs to sing that expressed their heavy hearts to a good God.
As those songs reflect the heart and mind of our Savior, we’re reminded that Jesus himself is the man of sorrows. He was not afraid to weep at his friend’s death (Jn. 11:35), or to lament over his beloved city (Mt. 23:37). He did not hesitate to encourage his followers to times of mourning and weeping (Lk. 23:27). He understood and showed us that the path to hope is paved with many tears and lamentations.
And so it seems to me that those Christians and churches desiring to have a Biblical and loving response to our nation’s rebellion ought to start here, with a season of lament. With times of prayer that bring our sadness, grief and repentance into the presence of God, who is the only source of comfort and hope.
We ought to lament our Supreme Court’s decision, and the many, many smaller rebellions that came before it. We ought to lament the church’s complicity in those rebellions. We ought to lament how our beautiful and glorious and loving Savior is being either twisted into something palatable or simply dismissed ate or We ought to weep for the lives of people made in the image of God who are being taught to define themselves by urges rather than their Creator.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.