Before we begin our sojourn into Habakkuk’s Vineyard, to explore the subject of lamentations and why we need them, I need to give a little background to these posts.
First, they were journaled years ago, yet I feel that they are just as applicable to The Church today as they were then. Maybe, more so.
Never have I seen a time where dreams and dreamers smash and crash with such devastating frequency! It’s hard to pick up a newspaper, or check your Facebook or Twitter accounts, or listen to The Evening News, and not be confronted with some new tragic and heartrending stories.
The Church is no exception. We, too, have our brokenhearted dreamers.
If we really love people, then we need to address the disenchantment many believers feel when their lives fall apart, for whatever the reason. We need to acknowledge their legitimate feelings of isolation and lonliness when ignored or dismissed as “just too messy or broken” and therefore made to feel like people of “little” value or worth. It’s time to give some deserved credence and credability to their angry frustrations and not just dismiss them as, irrelevant flotsam, or collateral damage.
When Robert Kennedy had to address an angry crowd after the assassination of Martin Luther King, he quoted an ancient poem by Aeschylus, “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
Perhaps the time has come for addressing the awful grace of God.
Jesus commanded us to bind up the brokenhearted. To remember those sitting in prison. He didn’t say, “But only if you think they deserve it, or you feel like it, or it will bring you some special benefit.” He just said, “Do it.”
So, having said all that, I share these coming posts hoping to accomplish two things:
First, to acknowledge the reality of angry and disillusioned believers. (I don’t think the Church likes to talk about them very much.) Yet they are everywhere; within the Church, and without. And, as with all serious problems, they won’t go away by simply ignoring or disparaging them as “misfits or disgruntled riff-raff.” Truth be told, ignoring them can open the door to much bigger problems.
Secondly, I want to bring some redemption and validity to these Believer’s complaints; their “right and real lament” over their predicaments. To have your life “taken captive” creates great frustration… and even anger. We like to expect oh-so-spiritual responses to suffering in The Church, but frankly I find that to be a little “pie-in-the-sky” unrealistic. There are multiple stages to grief, and anger is acknowledged to be a legitimate part of the process. I believe taking a sanctimonous attitude just piles on more guilt and isolation to people who are already hurting. Stuffing our anger or pretending it’s not there is not the bible’s way of dealing with it. Scripture is full of loud and vociferous lamentation, and by some very Godly men! I think it’s time to grant some very much needed grace to these folks, and listen.
If not here in The Church, then where exactly, are our captives supposed to take their angry frustrations? Especially when the silent message to them is often, “No one wants to hear it.” or worse, a superior and judgemental attitude that says, “You must have done something to deserve this!”
I believe most captives simply suffer in silence. Either that, or they take a “wax lips” approach. They slap a stoic smile on their face, and pretend everything is “fine” when in fact, just the opposite is true.
Whether you believe their captivity is deserved or underserved, my hope regardless is to bring the tender relief of basin and towel, along with some deep-down understanding, hope, and compassion for those among us who are hurting, and angry.
It’s high time they stopped feeling ignored, dismissed, or forgotten.
The experience I will relate is mine, but my story might also be yours, someday. To that end, let us all seek to learn how we might grant some patient grace and sow a little tenderness. (We just might be “paying it forward” for ourselves.)
May we be more like Jesus to ALL who are hurting.
Shall we take a bit of a roller coaster ride?
Ready or not, here we go…
Monday. Right here. We head into Habakkuk’s Vineyard.
Even though the fig trees are all destroyed, and there is neither blossom left nor fruit; though the olive crops all fail, and the fields lie barren; even if the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be happy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; he will give me the speed of a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.
Habakkuk 3: 17-19 TLB