WEEK 5: I See You! – Lamentations 2
In this chapter, the reporter/narrator moves closer to Lady Zion; so close, in fact, that he can look into her eyes and see her trauma. His perspective has changed; now he is deeply moved.
On a material level, the LORD did not ravage Jerusalem; the Babylonians did! So why does God take all the blame when the Babylonians committed all the crime? Can God be blamed for evil, simply because He lets it happen? How do you think severely persecuted believers might struggle with this question?
While the reporter does not directly accuse Yahweh of injustice or wrongdoing, his indignation and distress over Lady Zion’s plight are palpable.
Have you ever had a similar experience, where, by coming close to someone who is suffering, you have been transformed from a dispassionate observer into a compassionate advocate and comforter?
After encouraging Lady Zion to weep and grieve (v. 18), the reporter – now her comforter – implores her to pray: ‘Cry out in the night’; ‘Pour out your heart like water to the Lord’; ‘Lift your hands to Him’; and, just in case she feels reluctant to talk to God, he adds ‘for the sake of your children who are perishing’ (v. 19).
Christians are not immune from trials, hardship, persecution and suffering. Who are we as Christians? (See 1 Peter 2:9–10, 1 John 3:1a; Revelation 19:6–8). Might we have reason to hope in the LORD?
Laments – that is, prayers of pain and protest – reject denial by confronting reality. They reject numbness by embracing raw emotion. Laments reject passivity by crying out in an act of resistance. They declare that things are definitely not alright. Laments give due respect to pain and tears, just as God does (see Psalm 56:8).
Lamentations 1 and 2 advocate genuine connection with those who suffer. We must do more than look. We must come closer; we must get alongside and see. We must bring comfort through our witness and our prayers. We must help sufferers find God through the fog. By this means, we – the Body of Christ – connect with one another throughout the world and with our head (the LORD). This is true spiritual unity.
Elizabeth Kendal is a dedicated international religious liberty analyst and advocate. Elizabeth maintains two blogs: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) to facilitate strategic mission, aid, advocacy and prayer; and Religious Liberty Monitoring (providing additional news and analysis).