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Lament as Grief

Devotions

In 2014, psychologists from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville conducted an experiment with undergraduate students. They put each student in a room with no distractions. Then they told them that, if they wanted to, they could push a button and shock themselves. The results were shocking! Sixty-seven percent of the men and 25 percent of the women shocked themselves rather than sit quietly.

Many people feel it is hard to be alone and even harder to be abandoned. David began this lament asking four times, “How long?” David wanted reassurance that God still cared. He wanted to see God act in his defense. He was surrounded by enemies who wanted nothing better than to gloat over his demise and David felt abandoned by God.

When we feel abandoned, we might think that God does not want to help us. We may begin to doubt the existence of God altogether. David did not go down either of these roads. Instead, he waited. It was a waiting filled with questions and pleas, but waiting nonetheless. By waiting, we can be faithful to God even in the midst of sorrow (v. 2).

But David also waited in hope. He trusted in God’s covenant commitment to him and anticipated God’s salvation (v. 5). He remembered what God had done for him in the past (v. 6). It is possible to be full of grief and hope at the same time. The Apostle Paul reminded the church at Thessalonica, “We do not want you to be uninformed . . . so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). David here reminds us that God is worth clinging to even when we do not experience His presence at the moment.

Apply the Word

Perhaps you are walking through a time of anxiety or trouble. David would encourage us to voice our concern to God directly and honestly. Remember that even our Lord cried the words of a lament Psalm, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). Remember when God has met your needs, and trust that He still cares for you.

Pray with Us

Please join us in prayer for Dr. Mark Jobe, Moody’s president, today. Ask God to guide his steps, giving him godly wisdom as he makes decisions and leads the faculty and staff. Give him your joy, as he works unto the Lord.

BY Ryan Cook

Dr. Ryan Cook has taught at Moody Bible Institute since 2012. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology from Moody and his Master of Arts in Old Testament from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has worked in Christian education and served as a pastor in Michigan for seven years. During his time as a professor at Moody, he earned his doctorate from Asbury Theological Seminary. He now lives with his wife, Ashley, and their child in the Chicagoland area.

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