Following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to a friend and my thoughts on laments. Part of the letter was originally posted on A Forum for Christian Women:
"...Although I didn't know DearHubby's grandpa very well, the hardest thing for me to comprehend and witness is not knowing whether he knew the Lord or not and how to comfort his family members...It's been a bit overwhelming...
I'm sorry that I did not share this news with you and DearFriend K while you were here visiting. I didn't have my thoughts together yet about the whole situation and so I didn't want to say anything. Now, I wish I did share the news, so that you would have felt more comfortable opening up and sharing about your downcast soul. It's ok to question God. You find laments all over Scripture, like in the book of Psalms, "Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?" (Psalm 44:24), "Why have you rejected me?" (Psalm 43:2).
When I read laments, like Psalm 44, what I see is the darkness that is part of our faith, as we are called to suffering, but what I see more is the confidence in God. In times of seeming hopelessness, the only ONE who we can truly cry our laments to is our Heavenly Father and in laments like Psalm 44, I hear a cry to God for His rescue because there is HOPE there. I think there's a difference between a lament to God and a complaint to God. In a lament, there is true despair, as if God took His hand away from someone, for a time, but the person's hope and confidence is still in God. In a complaint, there may be true struggle and hardship, but in reality, a person is saying, "I deserve better than this," and then his heart is hardened against the Lord. That's when we get mired down by our situation, when we lose hope in the Lord, and try to get through the struggle and hardship on our own strength, because we've "lost" our trust in God. We need to have confidence in our God and His perfect plan for us, whether bitter or sweet, and in those bitter moments say, "Rise up and help us; redeem us because of your unfailing love."
So, I'm sorry DearFriend C, that I didn't share the news about DearHubby's grandpa during your visit. Please forgive me...I feel like if I did, even just share about how I'm having difficulty fathoming the possibility that he is not with God, that would have opened up the doors for you to share your laments too about your difficulties with YourHubby's job loss and all the issues that have come because of it. I think that's how we, as sisters in the Lord, encourage one another, by being transparent about our struggles and then hearing words of hope. So, I ask your forgiveness because I failed as a sister in the Lord and in the opportunity to minister and to be ministered to. If I had shared my thoughts, I know I would have gained some insight on our situation and not have felt so anxious and stressed today. I just completely lost it this morning, especially my patience with my children, and it was because I was fretting over the whole Illinois trip. I really needed to repent and seek forgiveness from DearDaughter1, especially. I haven't sought forgiveness from God yet, and I will do that tonight..."
In Pursuit of His Call