“Why is this happening, God?” “How long will you wait to intervene, Lord?” “Where are you?” According to A Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card, all of these are questions that were posed at some point by Biblical heroes. Having experienced a lot of sadness over the past few years, along with hearing of tragedy and even evil repeatedly in the news, this book has personal significance to me.
In the first few chapters, Card defines lament and discusses its place in the Christian’s life. Card talks about how we have lost the language that accepts suffering and how we need to find it again, because it’s an inherent part of our relationship with God. From our earliest days, we’re taught to control our tears and that of others, so in that way we might control pain. Card claims that instead lament is the path of true worship of God. Lament will help us heal, show us how to reach out to others, and allow us to develop intimacy with God.
The bulk of the remaining chapters focus on four Biblical heroes who expressed lament: David, Job, Jeremiah, and Jesus. Second king of Israel, David faced many sufferings including initially being overlooked as a candidate for God’s anointed, then being on the run as an outlaw, and even having his own children revolt against him. As for the prophet, Jeremiah, he accused God of being unfair. Jeremiah felt that God called him into service, only to have no one listen to or understand him. Using Biblical heroes as examples, Card show how we can find hope in troubled times.
Rounding out A Sacred Sorrow is an abundance of additional information on lament. There’s a list of all characters in the Bible who expressed sorrow, quotes from religious individuals from outside of the Bible, selected Davidic laments, and even a section on how to journal as part of lament. Readers are encouraged to grieve in God, but also to recall the blessings of God, and therefore to find fulfillment in God.
In my introduction, I wrote that A Sacred Sorrow has personal significance to me. I had reached the place in my Christian walk, where I felt questions and doubts but lacked any answers or joy. Ironically, by allowing myself to cry and vent, I begin to find my faith renewed. Since reading A Sacred Sorrow, I’ve even started a Biblical study of my own on the topic. If you’re looking for a new way to grow in God, A Sacred Sorrow should be on your reading list.
This post is part of the Musing Mondays line-up. Check out others by clicking on the below graphic.