01 Apr How Lamenting Helps You Unburden During Crisis
Daniel 10:8-9 – I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground.
Do you find yourself worn out, exhausted, and overwhelmed lately? Most everyone on the planet does. The question is, how can we process all that we are hearing and fearing so that even if things are not well around us, things are well within us?
The Old Testament story of Daniel is incredibly timely. After getting a revelation from God through a divine being (possibly the angel Gabriel) about some bad things that were going to happen, Daniel was overwhelmed. Doctors talk about something called “physical depression”. Unlike mental depression, people with physical depression do not necessarily have a lack of hope or desire for self-harm, they are simply just completely worn out. Because of spiritual warfare in their life, they are exhausted and their life energy depleted. This is because demons, unlike people, do not share in the limits of our humanity. They do not get sick, dehydrated, need a night sleep or day off. So, they wear us out and grind us down. This is exactly what was happening to Daniel and likely happening to you.
What Daniel models for us in chapters 10-12 of his great book is something called mourning or lamenting. There is a whole book of the Bible called Lamentations that models how godly people grieve. The book of Psalms has lamenting as the largest category of songs and prayers. Jeremiah, David, and even Jesus lamented. Here are six benefits of learning to lament:
- When you lament, you allow yourself to feel. This keeps your heart from becoming numb or hardened.
- When you lament, you process pain in the present and fear of the future.
- When you lament, you grieve your involvement and shed your victim mindset so you can see ways that you could have better prepared yourself for the struggle you are facing.
- When you lament, you empathize with others who are hurting and grow in compassion to minister to others in need.
- When you lament, you work through the cycle of grief which has five phases: 1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance and, for the Christian, adds a 6. Thanksgiving.
- When you lament, you escape giving a religious response. When crisis happens, and we don’t know what to say or do, sometimes we just quote a verse in an effort to end the conversation and pretend like everything is fine. Perhaps the most common verse grabbed during crisis is Romans 8:28 which tells us that God works out all things for good. That is, of course, true. But, the problem with such religious responses are that they are non-relational, shut people down from talking about what they are facing, and overlooks the fact that verses like this do not say when. People who have a crisis today can take comfort in the fact that at the Second Coming of Jesus all will be made right, but they still have the pain of today and tomorrow to deal with. By lamenting with people, we practice the ministry of presence and can be with them as the Holy Spirit is with us.
How are you at lamenting?
In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.
To visit the Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, you can plan your visit at thetrinitychurch.com.