The invitation of suffering – can I accept?

By Dave Henning / September 14, 2019

“Can I accept the invitation of suffering?  I understand now what the invitation is.  In our pain, God invites us to express our grief about the unraveling of life.  At the same time, we are invited to unabashedly, unashamedly declare that we want it back.  No more . . . pretending.  Just the naked self, standing before God — all of our disappointments, deferred dreams, and disillusions in tow.”- Aubrey Sampson

Aubrey Sampson concludes Chapter 1 of The Louder Song as she observes that she finally understands the invitation of suffering.  Hence, suffering offers an invitation to: stop pretending and avoiding, let go of control, pour out our hearts, and lament to God.

Furthermore, Aubrey defines lament as a crying out of the soul.  Thus, lament:

  • creates a pathway between the Already and the Not Yet
  • minds the gap between current hopelessness and coming hope
  • anticipates new creating while also acknowledging the painful reality of now
  • helps us hold on to God’s goodness as we battle evil

Above all, Aubrey describes lament as an overlooked genre of prayer.  Because the Bible contains more lament songs than praise songs.  In addition, the Psalms alone include more than sixty-five laments.  And famous lamenters include Moses, Job, Jeremiah, and Jesus.  Aubrey explains:

“God gives us the laments of those who have gone before us as a way to talk honestly with him, as a way to enter into the biblical story, as a way to connect with the suffering people of God, and as a tool for thrusting our anger and our mysteries and our losses at him. . . .  lament is . . . a powerful handhold in our seasons of sorrow.  God have given us the biblical language and practice of lament as a way to express our pain and survive our suffering.”

Finally, Aubrey stresses that there’s hope even in our darkest, most grievous laments.  For we lament to a God who wants to hear our laments.  Through lament we listen for God’s louder song – that one day we’ll hear it above the noise of our pain.

Today’s question: What Scriptures help you accept the invitation of suffering?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Our biggest obstacle to lament”

About the author

Dave Henning

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