Those familiar with Goth music recognize it as exploring the shadow side of ourselves. (Obviously, like any other genre, some of it is quite creative and plenty of it is simply derivative.) In our study of the psalms, we come to the chapter in Beth Tanner’s The Psalms for Today, “Living in a Broken World.” She focuses on Psalm 13, which begins, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
We’re looking at psalms of lament. We have left behind the airy, sweet feelings of praise. Tanner notes, “We come together in worship to praise God and to give thanks for our life, and that is well and good. But what of lament? When does the church gather to cry out, either for itself or for the injustice in our world? All around us we have people who are hurting, people who would rather hear Psalm 13 on a Sunday morning than another story where Jesus heals.” (68)
We tend to downplay the images of lament in the Bible. Perhaps we say that that’s no way to approach God—that we’re being ungrateful. But maybe we’re speaking more about ourselves than anything (or anyone) else. If we’re uncomfortable with confronting that darkness, then maybe we will pretend that it doesn’t exist, or that nothing can be done about it anyway.
What do we miss if we never lament?