Pastor John Ortberg points out that people’s laments are the prevalent theme of wintry Bible books (Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, many of the Psalms) in Chapter 9 of God is Closer Than You Think. He cites Old Testament scholar Ellen Davis, who has written that Israel’s lamentation prayers were unparalleled in comparison to other religions of the ancient world. The Israelites believed that their Creator cared about their pain and would do something about it.
Pastor Ortberg then describes what makes such prayers so powerful:
“When we are passionately honest with God, when we are not indulging in martyrdom but are genuinely opening ourselves up to God, when we complain in hope that God can still be trusted- then we are asking God to create the kind of condition in our heart that will make resting in his presence possible again. And God will come. But he may come in unexpected ways.”
The author states that wrestling with the absence of God is a universal problem. None of us is immune. The key, as Jeff Manion writes in The Land Between, is that we turn toward God as we candidly pour out our hearts to Him.