Week 36: Laments

The story of Israel has now taken us to Exile in Babylon . . . Jerusalem’s destruction is complete. The walls are toppled, the Temple is razed, the last of David’s kingly descendants are executed, and God’s people are either slaughtered or marched across the Fertile Crescent. All they have now are their memories . . .

Where is God? they surely asked. What about God’s faithfulness? What about God’s promises? What about the covenant?

Living in The Story aligns the gut-wrenching Psalm 137 with the laments of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations because it is so breathtakingly honest. Psalm 137 cries out the full-throated grief of Israel in their devastation. This requiem gives language to the unspeakable pain of any parent whose children have been raped or enslaved, tormented or murdered. I can’t imagine the loss of so many people across the ages.

Laments give voice to the universality of human tragedy; they help us to be human . . .

Theodicy is what we call this dilemma whenever we claim God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving, but then we also have to acknowledge that evil and suffering continue to exist within this world. If God is really powerful, if God is truly loving, then why doesn’t God do something? These unanswerable questions have challenged the faith of countless people across the ages . . .

Asking hard questions of God, arguing with God, even shaking a fist at God are not acts of faith-less-ness, rather this kind of honest struggle is an expression of deep living faith. Ponder the honest faithfulness we experience with the psalmists, with the prophets, or with Job.

See this same kind of faithfulness in Jesus: “My God, why have YOU forsaken me!”

Read more at Charlotte Vaughan Coyle. Living in The Story: A Year to Read the Bible and Ponder God’s Story of Love and Grace. (410-417) Resource Publications.

Living in The Story readings for Week 36


Jeremiah 1-4

Isaiah 1-12

Psalm 137

Psalm 138

Psalm 141


John 18-19

Author: Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

Charlotte lives and blogs in Paris TX. She is ordained within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and developed Living in The Story while doing doctoral work at Brite Divinity School in Ft. Worth. Charlotte also blogs about intersections of faith, politics, and culture at CharlotteVaughanCoyle.com.