There are many laments in the Old Testament, wonderings about why life is so rotten, why the wicked prosper and hey God, what are you waiting for? Make it right!
Many of the Psalms contain complaints and laments. There’s a whole book called Lamentations. Many of the prophets can be described as nothing short of depressed. Our Savior was described as a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief, while His church is a place of happy and acquainted with entertainment.
But, I guess due to societal evolution, American Christianity is happy, happy, happy. Our songs tend to be all upbeat. Our sermon applications are about happy things. People want to feel good when they leave church.
Do we lament? Do we care that we are surrounded by hurting people, or do we want to sweep all the tears under the carpet of happy?
There’s nothing wrong with happy, but there is something wrong with happy when you’re supposed to be weeping.
There is “A time to weep, and a time to laugh.” I think James’ advice could do well to be taken by the American Church, “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.”
Things really aren’t going that well down here for so much hilarity on our end. I’m not the only one who thinks so.
“I once observed a pastor telling a distraught widow to stop crying over the death of her husband. Why? She was ruining her testimony and distracting others from Christian hope. In effect, the pastor was saying, “God is working all things for good, so suck it up.” No lament, no grief allowed. Lament is taboo.”
I’ve seen the same thing. The notion that God’s will is being done in everything eliminates weeping, makes the church very callous and completely misinterprets God’s will and sin.
American Christianity is too happy. Feel some pain, seek some tribulation, be disappointed with this earth to the extent you have an anticipation of joyful and blessed eternity.