Lent Devotional: Complaint

“The Psalms are, in a sense, God’s way of holding space for us. They invite us to rejoice, wrestle, cry, complain, offer thanks, and shout obscenities before our Maker without self-consciousness and without fear.”

Rachel Held Evans
Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again

There’s a common misconception that to be “a good Christian” means to always be nice and happy, careful to not make waves. It’s okay to be fully human, including feeling all of our emotions. I believe we are also called to speak out against injustice and to make a difference.

The Psalms model for us that we are called to lament about our pain and cry out in the face of injustices. God is big enough to handle our cries of pain, anger and doubt. God is big enough to stand with us when we speak up to help the oppressed. God is big enough to handle our complaints about God’s very self. See Psalm 13 for an example:

“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

   How long will you hide your face from me?

 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”

    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;

    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

 I will sing the Lord’s praise,

    for he has been good to me.”

Psalm 13 NIV (via Biblegateway)

Prayer:

God, you know the pains, doubts, anger and fear in my life. You know the world’s deepest suffering. I lament the suffering in the world! I trust in your unfailing love and ask for your guidance to make a difference. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Reflection Questions: What does it mean to you that God can handle all of your emotions, even your complaints? Who “holds space” for you, giving you a time and place to be genuine? How can you hold space for others?

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