This week, Pastor Artie Lindsay looked at Naomi as an example of lamenting well. He drew out three points from Naomi’s story.
We have to be honest about the reality of life in a broken world. So often, we struggle to allow lament to exist, being tempted to call ourselves and others to move on or “consider [trials] pure joy” (James 1:2). Pastor Lindsay pointed out, “The Bible calls us to mourn with those who mourn; it doesn’t cause us to determine and judge whether or not they have reason to mourn. Notice Naomi is not rebuked for her lament. It seems as if the narrator allows for the lament to occur. It almost seems as if the lament is encouraged: it’s not challenged, it’s not over spiritualized. It’s allowed to be.”
Naomi references God several times in her suffering. She acknowledges that God is present in the midst of the pain. She doesn’t doubt whether God is there or cares. She continues to pray.
Even in Naomi’s pain, she doesn’t forget about others. Naomi and Ruth’s relationship, in many ways, is centered on and originates from Lament. We have to learn to live into the pain and not be afraid to join others in it.
As Pastor Lindsay concludes, he reminds us that “bitterness, hopelessness and struggle are not the end of the story” and that “on the cross, the message is that God is not only the God of the suffering, but He is the God who suffers.”
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Pastor Artie Lindsay serves as teaching pastor at Tabernacle Community Church, a multiethnic congregation in Grand Rapids, Mich. Artie was one of the lead architects in establishing the church. Pastor Artie has a burden and a passion for community revitalization, and he continues to work extensively in the community to address the very real physical, emotional and spiritual needs of community members. Artie is married to Raquel, and they have three children, AJ, Victoria and Alysa.