Friday, March 22, 2013


Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

The deepest longing of our soul is the all-satisfying love (translated from the Hebrew word hesed in 107:1) of God—not in the abstract, but first-hand knowledge and experience.  We all desire a tasting of God’s hesed, His fierce, loyal and abundant commitment to our best. The degree to which we have known the presence and power of God’s love is the degree to which we get a sense for how devastating it must have been for Jesus to lament as He bore the judgment of God against sin. All lament should lead us to Jesus, in whom our sorrow and pain finds ultimate identification and hope. Jesus is our model of lament.

The pinnacle of bewilderment and spiritual chaos for Jesus was on the cross. The physical pain was excruciating (literally!), yet it was nothing compared to the shock and horror of being forsaken, for the first time of His whole eternal existence, by His Father. On the cross, the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus as the whole weight of the world’s guilt bore down on His shoulders. He, who knew no sin, became sin. (2 Corinthians 5:17). It was real, audacious and unimaginable. How did Jesus respond?  With lament…

In that moment, he took up the lament of King David: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1, Mark 15:34). When He said this He identified with all our laments. For underlying all our laments are two questions: “God, where are you?” and, “God, if you love me, then why?” For the first time in all of eternity, Jesus felt the absence of the Father’s presence and the uncertainty of His love. God could not look upon the sin that Jesus became. Why did it have to be this way? If Jesus was God’s answer to the laments of humanity, how did He end up in the most lamentable position of all?

Jesus did not take away lamenting. He took it up. Having endured the cross, He secured for us the one thing we need more than solutions: the presence of God.  Michael Card is an artist that has ministered to me for decades, in speaking of this he said, “Lament is the path that takes us to the place where we discover that there is no complete answer to pain and suffering, only Presence.”

As we enter Holy Week and focus on the sufferings of Jesus, my dear brothers and sisters in the PCC community who lament, may we be a community of grace, truth and comfort and may we step into each other’s laments, not to give answers but to lift each other into the presence of our Jesus, who lamented Himself and who alone can bring comfort, perspective, hope and healing.

I love being your pastor!