Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 68

LAMENT - Carlson ‘My God, my God—why have you forsaken me?’ what if he had shouted out over the crowd, “God is great! He will be victorious! Praise him!”78 Biblical lament is one of the best possible resources for the trauma victim who is spiritually alienated and disoriented. This is because the cry of lamenters is predicated on their relationship with God and their expectancy that God must respond. Paradoxically, biblical lament invites the alienated and disoriented to discover faith and orientation in the very bewailing of their alienation and disorientation. Lament and the Therapy of the Gospel Biblical lament should also be understood as a powerful aid in ministering the good news of Jesus Christ to trauma victims. A theological perspective of biblical lament (incorporating New Testament fulfillment and canonical context) reveals these texts to be uniquely qualified carriers of the gospel— especially to victims of trauma.79 Firstly, biblical lament reminds trauma victims that Jesus Christ personally shares their suffering.80 In the face of unspeakably horrific trauma, Jesus himself cried out in the words of the biblical laments—words that He ultimately fulfills (Mt 27:46; Lk 24:44). As trauma victims shout their anguished lament into the void of agony and abandonment, ears of faith may learn to discern an echo growing ever nearer—the sound of “prayers and petitions . . . [the] loud cries and tears” of Jesus Christ himself (Heb 5:7). Secondly, biblical lament places traumatic experience within Scripture’s grand narrative of reality. When victims articulate their distress in the words of biblical lament, eyes of faith may begin to see the horrors of traumatic experience located within a biblical narrative that is moving toward a certain 78. Scazzero and Bird, The Emotionally Healthy Church, 162. 79. Waltke, Houston, and Moore rightly warn, “Biblical lament is too mysterious to equate cheaply with psychological complaint.” Bruce K. Waltke, James M. Houston, and Erika Moore, Psalms as Christian Lament: A Historical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2014), xi. However, the divinely inspired laments are also much too human to be cheaply divorced from psychological realities that are explicit in the text (trauma, pain, and despair). 80. Conversely, lament can also assist believers as they seek to understand the reality of sharing in the sufferings of Christ (2 Cor 1:5; Phil 3:10; 1 Pt 4:13). 67