Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Thirty-Nine

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Lamentations 3:55-66

I called on your name, O Lord,
from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, “Do not close your ear
to my cry for help, but give me relief!”
You came near when I called on you;
you said, “Do not fear!”

You have taken up my cause, O Lord,
you have redeemed my life.
You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord;
judge my cause.
You have seen all their malice,
all their plots against me.

You have heard their taunts, O Lord,
all their plots against me.
The whispers and murmurs of my assailants
are against me all day long.
Whether they sit or rise—see,
I am the object of their taunt-songs.

Pay them back for their deeds, O Lord,
according to the work of their hands!
Give them anguish of heart;
your curse be on them!
Pursue them in anger and destroy them
from under the Lord’s heavens.

It must have been a gray day when Jeremiah wrote these words, don’t you think? And somehow, they’re appropriate for this day before Palm Sunday. With the deep understanding he had gained about the reasons for his trip to Jerusalem, Jesus must have been more than a little bit pensive about it all. It would not surprise me to discover that he spent time in the scroll of Lamentations as he readied himself for the events of what we call Holy Week.

These words, along with the psalms of lament, are beautiful gifts to us. They give us language when we can’t find the words, when we’re feeling overwhelmed by life, when we’re feeling lonely, forsaken, overlooked, persecuted. And I understand the longing for pay-back expressed in that last stanza. Oh, yes, I do! But you know what? These kinds of words (they’re called ‘imprecatory’ in biblical circles) are useful for us, as well. They give us permission to speak ALL of our truth in the presence of God. To get down and dirty, to let our anger and our hurt feelings hang out there, flapping in the breeze of God’s goodness and grace.

These are not the only words, nor are they the last ones. But they’re good ones. They remind us that God sees us as we are and invites us to be real when we’re speaking with him. I’m thankful for that truth.

Thank you, Lord, for permission to be who we are. All of who we are. And thank you that harsh words are never the last words in our scripture. Thank you that forgiveness comes, that you supply it in abundance. And that you expect us to practice it, too. Help us to follow your lead — thank you for giving us space to let it all hang out. But then help us, O Lord, to let it all go and to move forward in love.

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Comments

  1. It does help so much to know that God wants the “all” of us, the good and the bad, and that He understands fully our hurts and frustrations.
    May your Palm Sunday be a blessed one, Diana!

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