Lament, Psalms 5-6

My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Psalm 6:3

David is again talking to his Father. This time he is using the language of lament, as did Job. This will not be an uncommon language in the psalms. It is, however, an uncommon language for many today. We do not know well how to lament. Many times, perhaps unintentionally, we are swayed to believe that lament does not have a place in the life of a believer. It is true that I have the Living God indwelling me in the Person of the Holy Spirit and so I can bear the fruit of joy, but the depth of understanding that joy comes in the heart of lament as well. I am not always apparently joy-filled and at times my soul is in anguish. David seems to have had the same times in his life. David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) and yet, he had times of deep lament. Lament is crying out to God in the midst of suffering, pain, or adversity. It is telling the Father the deepest places of raw emotion, knowing that He cares, that He understands, and that He can sympathize with our situation (Hebrews 4:14-16). But notice how the psalm is resolved in verse 9: “The LORD has heard my cry for mercy.” When in lament, it is most important to rest on the promises of God and His attributes and character. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart” (Ps 73:26). Lament does not mean that I do not find joy in the LORD; it means that pain is causing me to look harder and lean more intentionally on what I know to be true. Lament cries out, resting in the hope found in God alone; despair cries out with no hope.

Father, hear my cries of lament when I am in anguish. In the midst of my anguish, let me trust in you more fully. Reveal yourself to me, dear LORD. Amen.