International speaker and writer Esther Fleece recently completed No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending. In her book, Ms. Fleece uncovers the biblical language of lament. Esther describes lament as a real-world way to deal with our raw emotions that moves us forward to healing. Furthermore, Esther states, think of lament as real talk with God when you’re hurting, the kind of song you need for hope and healing, a cry God can work with. For no matter the cause of your pain, pain always needs to go somewhere. Therefore, we need a grid for processing our grief. However, coping mechanisms, although well-intentioned, ultimately never take us where we want to go and function as a cheap substitute for healing.
Lament, in contrast, requires acknowledging the truth of what happened to us and taking our pain directly to God. God, the protector and keeper of our hearts, desires to be with us in our pain. On the other hand, unprocessed laments keep our heart in chains. Also, when we opt not to wrestle with God in our brokenness, we turn to blaming others as well as God. But, lamenting opens the door to a relationship with God in the midst of our heartaches. Only God offers this type of intimacy for our pain. First, though, we need to attest to our pain and offenses before we can lament them. While facing the past is painful, it’s even more painful to live out the lies we’ve come to believe as truth.
Learning to lament out loud allows God to correct our misconceptions regarding how He sees us and thinks of us. Hence, Ms. Fleece encourages us to take our questions to God rather than using them as an excuse to disengage. She notes that, in our laments, God permits us to ask questions as a relationship-building test- to draw near to us in conversation. God prefers honest questions to faked spiritual strength. Specifically, Esther sees one particular question- “How long, Lord”- as a powerful prayer of hope. In addition, that question serves as a bold declaration of God’s presence, active listening, and power to act on our behalf.
In conclusion, Esther urges us to spend time with God and in His Word to remind ourselves of His true character. When we fix our eyes on God through the lens of our circumstances, we see a warped reflection. Thus, reminding God of His promises helps us to remember them and reassures us of our trust in Him to keep them. No season of lamenting lasts forever. No season of lamenting is designed to take us out. Instead, as we surrender to those seasons in faith, we know that the future holds joy. In the meantime, Esther inspires us:
” . . . let’s all make the choice to be done with faking fine. God has much better plans — plans for true healing, wholeness, and life upon life.”