LIFE IN THE DESERT
LEARNING TO LAMENT
Life in the desert is a theme in the Scriptures woven throughout. Moses lived in the Midian desert for 40 years as an outcast. God's people, the Israelites for 40 years as well. David runs from Saul in the desert. Jesus reenacts the desert journey by fasting for 40 days in the desert while he is tempted by the devil.
Nowadays, the desert life we experience is often not physically a desert. It can be anything. A child who has left the faith, a difficult boss, consequences from your own sin. Often for us seemingly unanswered prayers are the deserts we walkthrough. God customizes each desert experience for each of us. And, The truth is that God takes everyone he loves through the desert. He did so with his own Son, Jesus, and he does the same for us.
What is a desert? A desert is the gap between hope and reality.
There is a way to find God in the desert. It's an old way, that is mostly forgotten. A Hebrew lament is a long-forgotten but deeply biblical way of praying! But the beauty of how God designed us for such kinds of prayers, Through lamenting...the desert becomes a window to the heart of God. A place of deep sanctification and a where we come to know, believe and experience God's rich presence. The only hope we have to live in the desert is to lament. To not lament leads to unbelief = reality wins and hope dies.
A lament connects God's past promise with my present chaos HOPING FOR A BETTER FUTURE!
Jesus's greatest desert was when he was hanging on the cross. He cries out and laments, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" "I thirst." and "Into your hand I commit my spirit."
Jesus believes his Father can act, wants to act, and will act. There is nothing left to do and as death approaches, Jesus says, "It is finished." The Father answers the lament of Jesus with the Resurrection. Jesus is risen from the dead in a new glorified body and we are given a promise of eternal life for all who put their faith in the gospel of Christ.
Lamenting works. Lamenting leads to life! Jesus is alive. By God’s grace, we too can lament and find life in the desert.
READ ISAIAH 63:17 and 64:1-12
LAMENTING DOES 4 THINGS
Take some time to reflect on the current desert you may be in. How have you responded? Denial, Determination, or Despair? Have you complained to people instead of lamenting to God? If you have lamented what has that looked like? Have you invited others in to lament with you?
In light of this passage and teaching on lamenting, what would it look like for you to take your problem to Him and put your faith in His character and promises?
How does God want you to grow in lamenting? In what ways can your CG grow to lament together?
Be prepared to share with the group. Break into gender-specific groups of men and women and pray for one another.
PRAY OVER YOUR OIKOS DOCUMENT
PRAY OVER THE 5 REQUESTS ON THE FASTING AND PRAYER GUIDE