By Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition.
Our country is in pain.
A series of inexplicable killings, including five police officers in Dallas, has occurred this week. Many of us are anxious and hurting. All of us are confused.
When faced with this type of national crisis we may find it difficult to turn to our Comforter in prayer. We are used to going to God with our requests, but this time seems different. We are mired in sorrow and pain and can’t get past the question that haunts us: “How could God let this happen? Where is he when our country needs him?”
The book of Lamentations opens with a similarly bewildered and mournful query. Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Babylonians, and God seemed to pay no attention to the cries of the suffering survivors. In their pain they cry out, “See, LORD, how distressed I am! I am in torment within” (Lam. 1:20).
This book takes its name from lament, a song of mourning or sorrow. Laments may be occasioned by bereavement, personal trouble, national disaster, or the judgment of God. Throughout the Old Testament, and especially in the Psalms, we find lamentations that can serve as model for how we can respond in prayer in times of crisis.