Today was to be a special day for my birthday. Connie and I were booked to join Wayne & Carole Vawter, and Bill & Delanita Sheehan, on an Alaskan Cruise setting sail this afternoon. The Vawters and Sheehans were ministry partners at Faith Baptist in St. Paul many years ago. Our Lord had other plans.
For some reason God allowed a debilitating pain to come back to Connie on Wednesday night. After a trip on Thursday to the ER, plus visits to two doctors offices, we had to pull the plug on the trip. It has been devastating to cancel a trip of a lifetime at the last moment — but to push on would have been a disaster.
Connie encountered a pain issue four weeks ago, but we thought it was over. For about two weeks the pain went away after changing meds and getting helpful rehab at our good chiropractic office. Everything seemed to be on the right track until Wednesday night, and then the pain came back with a vengeance.
The last two days have been filled with caring for Connie, cancelling various aspects of the trip, gaining insurance refund information, and trying to cope with the emotions of sorrow and disappointment. Earlier this summer we heard a marvelous message on biblical lament preached by Pastor Mark Vroegop. He is author of a book entitled Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament. In his book Mark declares that “Lament is a prayer in pain that leads to trust.”
We have been walking that path of struggle, disappointment and pain these last few days. Mark Vroegop reasons that life can be hard, and hard is hard, but hard is not bad. He says, “You might think lament is the opposite of praise. It isn’t. Instead, lament is a path to praise as we are led through our brokenness and disappointment.”
That journey needs to turn to trust. Mark says, “While I’ve tried to encourage you to talk to God about your struggles and to ask boldly for what you need, now you will need to bring lament to its appropriate conclusion. You will need to choose to trust.” Even though our struggle pales in comparison to friends with life threatening problems, we’re learning that we need to trust the Lord in every trial.
Mark gives many scriptural examples of lament. Over one-third of the Psalms are prayers of lament and struggle. Here are several verses of great encouragement in the midst of cries of lament:
“But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.” Psalms 13:5 ; “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23.
Here is a short 5-Day Devotional Bible reading plan taken from the book. https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/14718