Read Lamentations 2:11
11 I have cried until the tears no longer come;
my heart is broken.
My spirit is poured out in agony
as I see the desperate plight of my people.
Little children and tiny babies
are fainting and dying in the streets. (NLT)
Jeremiah has a well earned reputation for seriousness and even gloom. His ‘lamentations’ are cries of sorrow about the state of things in Judah. He does not gloss over the terror or sugar-coat the sorrow with glib cheerfulness. He is evidence of the fact that a person of God can’t help but mourn at the state of the world,to confront its lostness and thus confront his or her own sorrow.
On a more personal level,we too confront our sorrows. We don’t pretend they don’t exist,somehow thinking that such pretence has spiritual virtue. God knows life can be hard and doesn’t want us to deny it by putting on a great big smile and telling everyone how everything is just fine. That is neither real nor helpful.
If we don’t acknowledge our sorrows we become unreal people,unable to help others in sorrow because we dare not confront such a thing in ourselves. We become church cheerleaders who tiresomely demand that everyone be happy because that’s what God expects. In fact,we are wanting people to be happy because we can’t face our own unhappiness. Discipleship,church community,thus becomes artificial and unreal.
Sorrow is not the whole of life,perhaps not even a great chunk of life. But it is a reality,and a reality in which we find Jesus-the man of sorrows.