Old-time rocker Jerry Lee Lewis once observed,”there’s a whole lot of shakin going on”. I suppose if he lived today he’d be singing, “there’s a big ol’ gigantic whole lot of shakin going on”. Or maybe he’d be going the other way with his observation and acknowledge that “there’s a whole lot of lamentin’ going on.”
That thought recently led me to the Old Testament book of Lamentations. As I read it I could relate to Jeremiah’s feelings regarding the loss of things he held dear. In his case it was the loss of Jerusalem. In my case, and perhaps yours, it’s the loss of the values of respect, civility and order to say nothing of what seems to be an attack on truth, justice and Christ’s Kingdom way.
But in the midst of lamentation, I found a “lamentaction” (what a difference a “c” makes). There’s no doubt that Jeremiah was in deep distress. Listen to his reality in Lamentations 1:16:
“This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit.”
Talk about the lonely life of a prophet! His lamentations reveal that true lament is born out of genuine and honest grief over what has been lost. But at the hearet of his lament is a call to hope:
“Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consume, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness . . . therefore I will wait for Him.” (Lam 3:22-24)
This call to an active hope is what I’d call a lamentation, God doesn’t call us to wallow in lament but rather to draw every morning on his great faithfulness. We can’t help what’s been lost – the disappointments and frustrations of our days are real – but we can make a difference by continuing to share with the world the greatest story ever told.
Let’s not forsake praying together that is God’s Spirit grips the hearts of those in America, in Europe and beyond there will indeed be a “whole lot of shakin’ going on”! Let’s let our laments lead to actions – actions rooted in the confidence of God’s great faithfulness.
As Cru’s founder Bill Bright might once have said, “Come Help Shake the World”.