Little time is spent explaining the existence of evil or why bad things happen to good people. More time, much more, is showing how God’s people cry and how they cry out to him.
Much lament is also a confession of sin, but that’s not true of all lament. Sometimes the speaker is crying out to God after suffering unjustly, at least from their point of view.
Glenn Pemberton, who was my dorm RA back in the day, has written a book about the Psalms of Lament. I haven’t read it, but knowing Glenn’s work, I’m sure it’s excellent. Richard Beck wrote a blog post based on some of the information in that book. He included a graphic representing a comparison the book makes, comparing the Psalms to modern hymnals. It’s interesting:
Graph taken from Experimental Theology blog
Our culture doesn’t like to cry. No wailing at funerals like in other cultures. Tears are hidden and apologized for.
The church needs to learn to cry. If Jesus, knowing that Lazarus would soon be raised, could shed a tear at his friend’s tomb, we too can cry upon seeing the pain of others. After what happened on Friday in Connecticut, tears are more than appropriate.
“Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”” (Matthew 2:16–18)
Let the Bible teach us how to lament.