Learning to Lament

Author: Samir Eljagh — Host: Natty AndersonPosted on: March 11, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Learning to Lament


Have you ever heard of lament? In Christianity, lament is the practice of telling God about your hurts, anger, and disappointments—and asking Him to do something about it. Sometimes we find it hard to lament something we have lost. We tend to prefer laughter to crying, joy to anxiety, celebration to nostalgia, and happiness to mourning. Anxiety, sadness, anger, and nostalgia are part of the spectrum of human experiences and therefore normal to every human. They must be embraced, not avoided.

I don’t know why we have the idea that following the God who gives joy means that we cannot experience sadness, anger, or anxiety. Sometimes, we feel pressured to be happy all the time even when the Bible teaches that weeping, lamenting, and mourning are regular experiences for those who follow Jesus. In fact, Paul encourages us to “weep with those who weep,” not to command them to feel well (Romans 12:15).

Instead of shunning uncomfortable emotions, we can normalize saying things like “I’m angry,” “I’m hurt,” “I need time to process,” or “I’d like to talk to someone.” God enables us to embrace uncomfortable emotions. Jesus Himself experienced uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, grief, and sadness (Luke 22:44; John 11:33-35). He invites us to process all our feelings with Him, trusting in His unfailing love. And even when we don’t have words, He laments for us, on our behalf. In the midst of grief, sadness, and anxiety, the first step to regaining hope is to allow ourselves to recognize these emotions. Some other things we can do to help process difficult emotions are:

• Talk to someone. Friends, family, and health professionals can be of great help.

• Recognize and accept that you are going to have bad days. The faster you recognize it, the more comfortable you’ll feel with it. It’s okay to not be okay.

• Don’t try to move on to the next thing. Listen to your emotions; they’re trying to talk to you and give you important information about how you’re doing.

As you do these things, bring your feelings to Jesus in lament. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but tell Him how angry, sad, disappointed, or hurt you are. God is not afraid or ashamed of your feelings, and you don’t have to be either. Let’s embrace lament, it’s normal. • Samir Eljagh

• What do you need to lament right now? If you’re ready, you can write your own lament. For some ideas about where to start, you can read Psalm 13, Psalm 88, and Psalm 102.

The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 (CSB)