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DAY 4 – Together in Lament – Bethel Week of Prayer
Day 4: Together in Lament

We all suffer, one way or another. From relationship tension to the loss of a loved one, we experience hardships that rock our worlds, knocking us down to the point where we feel defeated. The question we often ask in trials is the question, “How long?” (Remember the first quarantine of 2020?)

Suffering without an end in sight wears on our soul. If we know relief is coming, we can usually stand strong. A mother giving birth can handle the amount of pain at the moment because despite the excruciating pain she is in, she knows that a beautiful baby is on the other side. But if we can’t see the finish line, or don’t even know what’s around the corner, our spirits can easily become despondent and crushed.

God knew we would have peaks and valleys in this life. And he wants us to take our trials to him, such that half of the psalms in the Bible are psalms of lament. They are honest with our situation and our struggle and express faith that God can take our complaints and our tears. Praise God that we don’t have to pretend that we struggle, and praise God that he gave us language to talk to him in the midst of our despair.

To lament, at its core, is to suffer with hope. Psalm 13 (ESV) beautifully captures David’s heart as he approaches God in a hard, no-end-in-sight circumstance:

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

David is honest about his problems. David’s enemies are winning, his heart is filled with grief, he sees death as an option, and to top it all off—he feels like God isn’t even there. Verses 1-4 show that you can be honest about your hardships to God. You can express every feeling you are experiencing; it matters to God! There’s a beautiful word in verse 5 that changes everything. Did you see it? It’s the word “But.” It’s almost as if David is looking around at his circumstances and choosing instead to stand on God’s promises. He raises his eyes off of himself and puts them where they belong—on God. And in the midst of his pain, his prayer turns to praise.

If you’re facing a particularly painful situation or walking an uncertain road, it’s not a lack of faith to call out to God and pour out your complaint before him (see Psalms 55, 64, 102, and 142). In fact, one of the greatest steps of faith you can ever take is to be honest with God in the struggle and trust that he will hear you and be near. Today, let him know the burden on your heart.

  • Pray for the families of Bethel Church that are experiencing illness through cancer, disease, chronic pain, and physical ailments. Pray for healing and rest.
  • Pray for the families of Bethel Church that are unemployed and seeking jobs. Pray that God would direct them to the right job and that they would know where to look.
  • Pray for the families of Bethel Church that have prodigal children. Pray for the children to come back to Christ and for parents to love their children unconditionally.
  • Pray for the people of Bethel Church who are struggling with mental health, who have endured much difficulty over the past months. Pray that the Lord would be near and would bring health.
  • Pray for the leadership of Bethel Church that they would lead in humility and care for those experiencing suffering.
  • Pray for the people of Northwest Indiana who are experiencing suffering without Christ. Pray that they would turn to him and find rest for their souls.
  • Pray for the homeless of Northwest Indiana that as Bethel Church members and others serve and help them, they may see the love of Christ.
  • Pray for our missions partner, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. Pray that their students would grow in their understanding of the gospel and be fruitful in ministry.
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