According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word lament means: 1)Express passionate grief about. 2) Express regret or disappointment about something.
Jeremiah 15 is a prayer for the disappointed, a lament. This passage gives us insight into what we should do when we are disappointed. Especially, when we are disappointed with God.
Have you ever been disappointed with God? It is easy to admit when we are disappointed with other people, but how about when it is God? Have you ever been following God and doing exactly what you feel He has called you to do and yet God doesn’t seem to be providing what you need?
When we face disappointment with God, what do we do? We can put on a happy face and pretend everything is ok. (I know many people who do this.) We can live in denial or even lower our expectations of God. This means that we really stop trusting God. Or, we can deal with our disappointments. Today we read Jeremiahs prayer of lament, that is a prayer for the disappointed. It is a kind of prayer that can help us deal with our disappointment with God.
Jeremiah was set apart at birth by God to be a prophet. This was his calling. Jeremiah had to proclaim the message to the people that God was bringing severe judgment because they had forsaken Him. The people did not want to hear this message. There were many false prophets at this time speaking words that the people would rather listen to. Jeremiah was the lonely voice speaking truth. He was faithful to proclaim God’s message, but he didn’t see any results. All he saw was opposition and persecution. Thus being why he was disappointed with God.
Jeremiah did not put on a happy face nor did he lower his expectations of God. Instead, he prayed through his disappointment with God.
Jeremiah 15:10, 15-18 are the verses that he prays to God. Read through these verses. They are honest, gut-wrenching feelings that Jeremiah does not hold back from God.
Woe to me, my mother, that you have given birth to me. To be a man of strife and a man of contention to all the earth! I have not loaned, nor have men lent money to me, yet everyone curses me.
After Jeremiah’s prayer of lament, God responds. But, notice that God does not start by speaking words of comfort.
Therefore this is what the Lord says; “if you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. Jeremiah 15:19
When we lament and when we get honest about how we feel, we need to be ready to receive God’s reply. God’s response might not be comfort, it might be rebuke. God tells Jeremiah he needs to repent. Sometimes, when we are upset we say things we don’t actually mean. We might accuse God of things that aren’t true or we may have a sinful attitude.
Jeremiah needed to return to his trust in god.
And if Jeremiah will return, God promises strength and endurance.
I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the Lord. “I will save you from the hands of the wicked and deliver you from the grasp of the cruel.” Jeremiah 15:20-21
Jeremiah had felt overwhelmed by the persecution that he faced, but God promised that if he will return to Him, his enemies will not prevail over him. These words strengthen him. Jeremiah gets to a better place not by denying his feelings, but by expressing them to God.
Do you feel free to express your disappointed feelings to God? To be totally honest with Him? He knows our every thought anyway, why not be honest and tell Him what you really feel just as Jeremiah did? Bring your disappointments to God through the prayer of lament.