I love diving into my little library of books. As I have been preparing for various work related projects, and exploring material for a new blog series to be unveiled after Christmas I came across this gem of a book on the Psalms. It’s called “Rachel’s Cry: Prayer of Lament and Rebirth of Hope.” This book takes the ‘cry of lament’ seriously (Jurgen Moltmann’s word’s, not mine).
One section of the book explores the spirituality of a group of people who were sexually abused. Included in that section is this psalm written by Karen Doudt. Notice as you read the raw and honest tension between the dire sense of forsakenness and the petitions for God’s help. As we live in a culture that avoids pain, both emotional and physical, lament psalms become increasingly important for our spirituality. If you do find yourself emotionally beaten, down and out, or physically exhausted or in pain try writing a psalm. Be honest to God.
My God, My God
Why have you forsaken me?
My body cries out.
My hands are knots
My neck is pained with tension
My chest is tight, breathing is laboured
My stomach groans with unrest
My mouth is dry
My eyes will not close with sleep
My ears ring
My mind is pregnant with unrest
My legs are curled, the muscles crying with tightness
My heart beats on while pain abounds
Oh God, my God
Where are you now?
My spirit longs for thee
for the peace that comes with rest
for the peace that comes on the footsteps of truth
for the peace that comes with the healing of brokenness
for the peace that comes with the release of the pained soul from bondage
for the peace that creeps in when I can share the depths of my pain with trusted ones
Oh God, my God
release the wells of my eyes
break down the remaining walls of my defense
destroy the fear that enfolds my being
awaken the courage to continue to reach out, to unfold
Grant me patience, Lord to endure
– the time required for healing
– the pain of the width and depth of my emotion
– the pain of aloneness
– the search for truth and understanding
– the search for meaning
O God. I feel like the abandoned child, hardening myself to survive because I feel so alone. I cry out again – please enfold me in your arms and wrap me with care. Melt my defenses. Help me surrender to complete trust in significant others so my story can be told and I can find the things that make for peace. I pray that through this death I find life.
– by Karen Doudt
Kathleen D Billman and Daniel L Migliore “Rachel’s Cry: Prayer of Lament and Rebirth of Hope.” 90.