I remember distinctly sitting with my dad in his lounge. It was a sunny Cape Town afternoon, and we were enjoying a slow day as a family and solving the world’s problems. Somehow, the conversation led us to the topic of the Psalms.
Most people know the Psalms as the place you open your Bible to somewhere in the middle.
But on this day, we were digging deeper (as we do) and my old man’s words were, “Much of modern Christianity today demonstrates that we have lost the ability to lament.”
I got so excited by this statement.
Do you now how much I have to get off my chest? Social media is never a clever option. And then I always feel like a drain if I bore my friends with my woes. Shrinks are expensive when you’re raising a family and have other bills to pay.
But more exciting for me was the idea that my own old man was saying that one of the most profound lost forms of communication was with our Creator. The question about lamenting (or if I can say: honest agonising) and God don’t often end up in the same sentence.
There is a goldmine conversation from 2015 between U2 singer Bono and The Message author Eugene Peterson on YouTube. You can watch the whole thing here:
For me, one of the takeaways of this conversation was part 4, around the subject of honesty.
I am truly grateful that I married the person that I did. She is the most honest person I know, real inside and out, and through our friendship, we have been able to navigate our faith together. I have experienced the Lord’s kindness when I have been properly bleak about stuff.
The other profound takeaway from the above video is Eugene’s statement that “He doesn’t want to escape the violence”. In context, he’s saying he wants to make a difference in this world while he’s here, rather than escape it. I know many people who would rather dial out and live a life of comfort and tranquility, but Eugene’s deep revelation here is that he wants to muck in and help. I find this challenging.
So the obvious question is “how?”
I’m no expert. However, I think it starts by each of us having an honest conversation with God, of learning how to cuss without cussing, of wrestling through the realities of this life with a God who is slow anger and rich in love.