How long, O Lord must I call for help, but you do not listen?” Habakkuk 1.2a
These are the words of a desperate and broken man. Habakkuk had observed unspeakable evil, the kind that makes you sick to your stomach. Children taken to pay off family debts. Property seized by the whims of a powerful neighbor. Courts enforcing evil. This was a scary place to live and Habakkuk is confused by God. He keeps praying for God’s movement—but God is silent.
This type of prayer is called a lament and is found elsewhere in Scripture (see Psalm 13). A lament does three things: spells out the disappointment to God, asks for help and then expresses trust. God invites us to come to him with all our pain and questions. But we can’t stop with complaint. We must ask for help from God. As we continually present our disappointment before God, God is faithful to bring us to a place of trust in him. He often doesn’t give us the answers we think we need but he helps us understand his character and his constant presence with us.
Laments help guide us through our own disappointments. They give us permission to be honest with God. We can and should tell God about our pain, ask for his help and turn to him in trust. If you find yourself in pain or disappointment today, take a moment to write out your own prayer of lament. Be honest with God and lean into him for provision and comfort.