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Learning to Lament: Our Heavenly Father’s Embrace When We Grieve by Paul Mallard
Lamenting in the face of grief and loss is therapeutic. It is also theologically sound.
So why then don’t we lament? Or at least, why don’t we lament well?
Not wanting to let the side down, we may buy into a stoical or even triumphant brand of Christianity. We forget to be human. Or we can confuse lamenting with its forbidden cousin, grumbling, which crosses a line.
The author guides us skilfully through the Bible’s teaching, introducing us to key characters whom we can emulate. He shares from his own wealth of personal and pastoral experience. He sits beside us as we work through our tears to a place of confidence and trust.
This life-giving book will meet you where you are in an experience which is no less raw and painful for being universal. Here you find empathy and deep comfort. You are held securely in your Heavenly Father’s warm embrace.
“There is perhaps nothing more important in our suffering than knowing how to turn to the Lord, talk it out, and move towards a place of trust. Learning such faith in the midst of grief is the topic of this book. Pastorally sensitive and amply rooted in Scripture, it leads us through the ‘turning, telling, praying, and trusting’ of lament. The author handles the mystery of suffering with care, leading us to Christ, who bore ultimate darkness for us. Some dos and don’ts towards the end of the book represent seasoned wisdom from decades of local church ministry. Questions at the conclusion of chapters not only invite personal reflection but make this a resource that can usefully be read one-to-one or in a small group. May this book lead many hurting believers into the arms of their loving Father.”
Certificate Course Director, Biblical Counseling UK,
and former consultant psychiatrist
“Paul Mallard writes honestly and movingly from his own personal experiences of profound and inexplicable loss. With gentle wisdom, heartfelt sensitivity, and deep biblical knowledge, he helps us to see the importance of lament in the Christian life. He guides us in how to use biblical words to express our pain and discover afresh the heart of God himself. This is a much-needed book for all those who grieve and those who seek to accompany and support them on their journey.”
emeritus professor of neonatal paediatrics at University College London
and author of Dying Well and The Final Lap
“In Learning to Lament, we hear the gentle voice of a pastor sharing truths he himself has learned from the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus. Pastorally wise, biblically faithful, and full of helpful illustrations, written in a style accessible to all, this book helps us face up to the unavoidable reality of the many types of painful losses that cause deep grief. Paul Mallard enables believers in our Lord Jesus to see that learning to lament is a necessary part of the normal Christian life: we are encouraged to turn, tell, pray, and trust in the Father of Compassion and the God of all comfort.
This is no sugar-coated discipleship. But as well as addressing the distressing realities of life in a fallen world, Paul helps believers to rest their heads on the pillows of God’s sovereignty, goodness, and wisdom. Reading this book alone will nourish your soul, teach you to lament, and help you ‘move from “why?” to worship.” Reading the book with others will stimulate honest discussion, Christ-centred encouragement, and mutual support. Having read Learning to Lament, I want my friends to read it too!”
Director for Pastoral Support,
Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches
Paul Mallard is a retired pastor and former president of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, where he now works in theological training. He is the author of in Invest Your Suffering, he has a heart for the grieving and the broken.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Permission to Lament
- Understanding and Navigating Grief
- Learning to Be Honest about Loss and Suffering
- Learning the Language of Lament
- Learning Core Truths
- Learning Trust
- Learning Brokenness
- Lessons from the Darkness and from Jesus
- Learning to HopeEpilogueScripture Index