Embracing Lament: Finding Comfort and Connection in Through Grief

Dive into the significance of lament in spiritual formation, understanding how it offers a pathway to comfort and deeper connection with God amidst life's hardest moments.

“Our world cries out for a theology of spiritual growth that has proven to work in the midst of the harsh realities of daily life.” – Richard Foster.

The Unavoidable Reality of Suffering and Loss

Life is hard. We have all experienced at one time or another death, loss, pain, or disappointment. These are unmistakable parts of life that can leave us full of sorrow, grief, and confusion when detached from a God who sees and deeply cares.  Jesus tells his disciples in John 16 - this life will bring with it great troubles. In other words, suffering and loss come for us all at some point in life - even for those who follow Jesus. The life of Jesus was a life marked by suffering - even unto death. When we choose to follow Jesus, we follow him also into suffering. A significant part of our spiritual formation as followers of Jesus is to learn how to suffer and grieve as Jesus did. 

The Biblical Tradition of Lament

Spend any amount of time reading through the Psalms and you’ll quickly come across a Psalm marked by lament. Over a third of the Psalms are psalms of lament. Clearly, the practice of lament was an important part of the spiritual life of God’s people throughout the Old Testament. After all, an entire book in the Old Testament (Lamentations) was a written example of this practice. 

Jesus and the Practice of Lament

Jesus, in his sermon on the mount proclaims: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” And, Jesus upon hearing of Lazarus’ death, is quickly brought to deep sorrow and mourning in light of the loss. Jesus lamented. The spiritual practice of the Old Testament was clearly and purposefully practiced by Jesus. 

Lament throughout Scripture is a prayerful response to the reality of suffering. Simply put, we start by seeing the suffering; we look at it, we feel it, we allow ourselves to experience it. And then, we intentionally invite God into it to be present with us in what we see.

The Purpose and Power of Lament

In large part, it is the way in which we connect with God in the things that break his heart. Lament allows us to move towards God in the context of pain and trouble. When we see the brokenness of our world, we can bring it before a God who deeply cares. To lament is to intentionally cry out in hopeful sorrow that God would respond to the suffering of humanity. The spiritual practice of lament connects us to the truth that we see the brokenness of our world and yet are unable to bring about change apart from the work of God. Lament is the language of humility as it recognizes our complete dependence on God. When we grieve with God it leads us to deeper prayer and petition, which ultimately leads to praise as we see God’s intentional response to the prayers of our hearts.

Connecting with God Through Grief

As we learn to see the world through God’s eyes, we begin to discover that everyone’s life is heartbreaking - including our own. But in every experience of loss, disorientation, disillusionment, and pain - if we have the prayer presence of mind - we might ask: Is this an experience that Jesus can relate to? Is God grieving the things I am grieving? Jesus shows us clearly, it is godly to grieve what grieves God.

A Resource for Grieving with God

Grieving with God is designed to guide you through the practice of lament, helping you engage with your grief in a way that brings spiritual comfort and growth.

Get the Resource

Our Blogs