What can we do when life doesn’t make sense?
Written by Brad Jenkins

What do we do when things don’t make sense?

A number of our church family have faced unimaginable grief this past year, and we have been at a loss for answers.

The death of loved ones, and it feels too soon. Cancer. Chronic pain. Broken family relationships. The list of inexplicable pain goes on and on. None of us is immune, and even when we’re not experiencing it directly, our hearts hurt for our friends.

Thankfully, God is a God who can take our questions, our complaints and even our passionate protests. We call this the act of lament, and it’s an appropriate response when life doesn’t make sense.

Lament means “complaint,” but it’s not the complaint of social-media rage. It’s a godly complaint. Psalm 13 is one place that shows us how to enter into lament.

Take some time to read it, and notice how the Psalmist does four things as he prays. (I’m grateful for Mark Vroegop‘s work on lament in explaining this Psalm’s structure):

  • He takes his complaint to God (verses 1-2). His sadness, his anxiety, his pain is vented at God, and that’s where we should vent our complaint, too.
  • He tells it like it is (verse 2). The psalmist gets real and tells God what he’s feeling. And he asks God the question we often ask, “How long?” Get real with God. He can take it.
  • He asks God for help (verses 3-4). In the midst of the things that don’t make sense, tell God what you need.
  • He trusts God (verses 5-6). This is the hardest part of lament, and yet it is the thing that makes godly complaint godly. In the midst of the confusion, the psalmist expresses his trust in God’s “faithful love.”

We all face moments when things don’t make sense. I hope in those moments, you’ll turn to God’s gift of lament and let it minister to your aching heart.