In the mid to late 2000s, I started to fall in love with music of all genres. My favorite bands at the time were artists that are Christians. In 2008, that began to start changing with my depression. I started relating to lyrics that were more downtrodden because I related to the writers of those songs. That search for understanding started out in a place of lamenting the loss of my grandfather, and the need for comfort. Throughout time though, some of the secular music I related to came from a place of seeking pity rather than a place of lament because there is a fine line between the two that is easy to cross. One song that I never got into, but you will hear in grocery stores nowadays that epitomizes pity rather than lament is “Welcome to My Life” by Simple Plan. The lyrics are meant to relate with others and trying to make others understand how the writer feels, but it comes out as a song that isolates the listeners and the writer. The chorus of the song goes like this: “No you don’t know what it’s like/ when nothing feels alright/ you don’t know what it’s like to be me/ to be hurt, to be lost/ to be left out in the dark/ to be kicked when you’re down/ to feel like you’ve been pushed around/ to be on the edge of breaking down/ and no one’s there to save/ No,you don’t know what it’s like/ Welcome to my life”
Those lyrics aren’t a cry for help, those are lyrics of someone wanting pity making it look like they’re crying for help. They’ve dug themselves so deeply into the rut of depression and the isolation it encourages, that the writer’s want for help is locked away in the back of their mind. I have brought forth this example because I want to show that there is a good way to lament, even if it seems melodramatic to some. The verses I want to look at today is Job 3. The title this chapter was given is Job’s Lament. Job 3: 1-16 are all verses where Job is proclaiming that his life would have been simpler and less painful if he was never born at all. He is correct saying this, and he is saying in mourning the pain and suffering he has endured. Job uses these verses to express the pain he is experiencing to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; men he considers friends. He beseeches them for empathy or sympathy during the most difficult time in his life recorded in Scripture. Instead, they try to ravage his character saying that surely he did something wrong. We know these accusations are false because of Job 1:1.
Job 3: 20-22 (NASB): “Why is light given to him who suffers, and life to the bitter of soul; Who long for death, but there is none, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures; who rejoice greatly, they exult when they find the grave?”
Verse 20 is a parallelism where he is asking God why people who suffer are given life. He continues into verse 21 saying that those people from verse 20 seek out death more than hidden treasures. You can either take hidden treasures literally, or some people say that if you look at Proverbs 2:4 that the hidden treasure is wisdom. So the verse could be taken as someone seeking out death more than treasure, or seeking out death more than wisdom. Just food for thought. Verse 22 Job leads me to believe that the context of verse 21 describes someone seeking out death more than wisdom. This is an important detail to iterate because for me, this describes someone who has become depressed to the point they have become suicidal. From my experience, people who are considering suicide tend to contemplate death, but don’t choose a way to die until they feel they cannot bear life’s pain anymore. Usually that occurs with one last event that feels rather impactful on their life. Once that event happens to them though, they have resolved how, but not when.
The time frame between how and when is the most important time for us to help people with suicidal thoughts because they usually try to find a reason to live one last time, because they don’t entirely want to die. They want comfort and for someone to help them find peace within this life. If they don’t receive that help, they’ll make the selfish decision to cease living to end the pain. This isn’t true for all cases. I’m just stating from my experience, this is what seems to happen.
Job isn’t the only man to curse the day he was born in Scripture. Jeremiah did so as well in Jeremiah 20: 14-18. Both of these men sought out comfort from God in times of persecution because it was unjustly given to them. Jeremiah also wrote Lamentations mourning the destruction of Israel that began the Babylonian Exile time frame.
The exercise of lamenting is to express grief and mourning in a manner to seek supplication or comfort from God. The fine line between seeking pity and lamenting is who are you reaching out to when expressing your mourning and grief. Seeking pity is to seek out comfort from man to make things better. Lamenting is to seek out God and ask for His comfort. Something for us all to work on is to help lead one another in times of trouble to God for His guidance and comfort, instead of trying to help fix the problem ourselves.
Also, a song that I believe shows lamenting well is “Vice Verses” by Switchfoot, if you’d like some music to listen to while reading, or to keep focus on the idea of lamenting throughout your day. It should be noted, if you look up the song you may come across the full album because the song and the album share a title.