God, Where Are You?
10 JANUARY 2021 | TRADITIONAL SERVICE
Rev Gladwin Lee
Scripture Passage: Psalm 10 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
(Click on video below)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | Growing in prayer necessitates candid lamentation submitting to God’s promises and power.
Lament is the language of people who believe in God’s sovereignty but live in a world with tragedy (Mark Vroegop). Paul Miller adds that if you don’t lament, your heart shuts down, and your vital relationship with God dies a slow death, opening doors to doubt and cynicism. We need to bring our sorrow to God, learn how to lament, not giving God the silent treatment. Lamenting is necessary, far from disrespectful and gives us a chance to grow in our prayer lives.
Bringing our T.E.A.R.S. to God
1. Talk to God humbly - Ps 10:1. When God seems far away in times of trouble, the Greeks practised stoicism, unemotional acceptance while the Jews lamented, believing in a covenant-keeping God and longing for a better future. Lamenting connects 3 time zones - of past promises with present chaos and hope for a better future. Jews brought their chaos to God in their lamenting. Our Divine Father wants us to call out to him, and put our tears in a bottle. (Ps 56:8)
2. Express our pain honestly – vv2-11. We can safely unburden our struggles and inner demons to God . Sorrow and sin must always be faced head on to enable further growth on fertile ground.
3. Ask God to act – v12. A plea of faith calling on God to arise in defence of the humble. Have you become dispassionate, apathetic in prayer?
4. Remember God’s promises – vv5, 13-15. Cast your burdens at his feet, not looking at your predicament but at God. Avoid getting fixated and paralysed by fear.
5. Submission and silence – vv16-18. The Lord is King and will justly defend the oppressed. Laments are legitimate God-directed pleas remembering His promises and submitting to Him, versus complaints which circumvent God, see us wallowing in pain, and demand God to act.
(Sermon Notes by Kwun Pillai)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. Read Psalm 10. Why did the Psalmist feel that God seems to be hidden or far away?
2. What is a lament? And why is it necessary for our prayer life?
3. Do you have any reservations with prayers of lament? If so, what are they?
4. What do you usually lament about? Or who do you lament with?
5. Recall the TEARS structure of a lament for bringing our tears to God. On a scale of 1 (extremely unfamiliar) to 10 (extremely familiar), how familiar are you with prayers of lament?
- Which of the 5 components are you familiar with?
- Which of the 5 components are unnatural for you?
6. Recall the 3 ways a lament is different from a complain. Share what are some personal ways to help you move from complain to lament.
7. Take some time to write your own prayer of lament based on the TEARS structure offered. Invite anyone who is comfortable, to share his/her prayer of lament.