“I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble.” (Psalm 142:1-2)
We live in a world that breeds discontent. We are bombarded with the message that to be happy we need more things, fewer wrinkles and better vacations. We also live in a world of sin, violence, sickness and death.
Jesus calls us to constant prayer (Luke 11:9-10), but what about our complaints?
There are numerous biblical references to believers like Job, Moses and David complaining to God in the midst of their troubles and suffering. There are also the Psalms of lament – prayers and songs that show us how to express our pain to God in a context of worship.
In these laments the authors pour out to God their sorrow (Psalm 137), anger (Psalm 140), fear (Psalm 69), confusion (Psalm 102), disappointment (Psalm 74), or depression (Psalm 88).
God expects us to experience pain and then express our pain in prayer and worship. We can do this privately, like David did when he wrote Psalm 142 (1 Samuel 22), and we can do this corporately, like the people of Israel did when they sang Psalm 142.
Psalms of lament remind us that God does not expect for us to always experience prosperity. They also model for us how to complain in a way that honors God.