Bright yellow daffodils are blooming. The sky is blue and the air warm. Heavy winter coats have been gladly packed away for next year. Spring is finally here.
But for some, it’s still winter. For those who grieve, have deep sorrow, gripping fear, or struggle with pain, though the sun shines above them, inside their heart, the darkness of winter lingers. The cold fear, the thick fog of despair, and the heavy darkness of grief remains from one season to the next.
I’ve been through long seasons of winter in my heart. Though everyone around me enjoyed the bright rays of joy’s light, I lived trapped in a perpetual winter. It lasted so long I nearly forgot what the warmth of happiness felt like or the peace of a cloudless day.
Sometimes winter lingers. There seems to be no end in sight to our trials. We cry out to God and he seems silent. We feel weak and desperate. We wonder, how long? Will this ever end? What if life is like this forever?
The Psalmist in Psalm 13 felt the same way. He cried out to the Lord, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2).
Many believers go to the book of Psalms for hope and comfort during times of trial. We find words there that speak to the pain in our heart. We find that we aren’t alone and that others have felt the same fears, despairs, heartache, and longing for relief.
The Psalms are a great resource for not only expressing our sorrow but also for showing us that there is hope. If winter lingers long in your heart, go to the Word and read through the Psalms of lament. There you will find a guide for how you can express your own lament to God.
Here is what you will find in most Psalms of lament and how you can voice your own lament:
1. Cry out to God: When the darkness of winter lingers in your heart, cry out to God. Tell him the depth of your sorrow and the extent of your pain. Tell him every doubt and fear. Like the Psalmist, ask him ‘How long?’ “My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord—how long?...I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.” (Psalm 6:3,6)
2. Ask for help: Over and over in the Psalms of lament, the writer asks for help. He asks for rescue, for salvation, and for healing. Ask God to help you, to give you hope, to free you from the darkness of winter. “In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” (Psalm 71:2-3)
3. Remember God’s past faithfulness: In many Psalms, the writer would remind himself of all that God had done in the past. Look to God’s past faithfulness in your life. Remember the lengths he went to in securing your freedom from sin and death when he poured out his wrath upon his only Son. Remember all the ways he has provided for you and met your needs. Remember the ways he has held you, strengthened you, and loved you. “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77:11-12)
4. Dwell on who God is: The Psalmist also focuses on who God is, his character, and his steadfast love. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:5-6) “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” (Psalm 28:7)
5. Respond in Thanksgiving: Nearly all of the Psalms of lament end in thanksgiving and with an affirmation of trust in God. After you have made your own lament to God, respond in thanksgiving for who he is and what he has done. Affirm your trust in him. Put your hope in him. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4)
If your heart lingers in a season of winter, you are not alone. God’s Word gives us hope and reminds us of what is true. Go to the Psalms. Read through the laments and create one of your own. Cry out to God. Remind yourself of his love and faithfulness for you through Christ. Trust him and his promises and know that “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Christina Fox, @toshowthemjesus, is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny S. Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two boys. You can find her sharing her faith journey at www.toshowthemjesus.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ToShowThemJesus.