Most of us will have faced that most delicate situation of meeting a person who is suffering. We tend to go down one of two different avenues—one is to offer well-intentioned advice: often in the form of well-worn cliches that the person will have heard several times before. The other is not to say anything at all: risking the danger of leaving the person under the impression that God has no idea what is going on and is unable to help.
How are we to understand suffering and its place in our lives? Should we try and rationalize it away, trying to come up with a solution that sits as comfortably as possible? Surely we should look to Scripture first? This is what Walter Kaiser does here. Looking at the Old Testament book of Lamentations, Kaiser does not offer any easy solutions, but rather shows us how a sovereign and loving God can work through even the most painful moments.
“Thus we are taught to pour out our complaint, sorrow, and anguish to the God in whose presence we not only live but also suffer.” (Page 47)
“Our generation’s neglect of this volume has meant that our pastoral work, our caring ministry for believers, and our own ability to find direction in the midst of calamity, pain, and suffering have been seriously truncated and rendered partially or totally ineffective.” (Page 8)
“So God’s anger is not despotic, unreasonable, or whimsical; it is related to violations of the covenant He made with His people and therefore, in a way, it is a sign that He has not abandoned either His people or His plan.” (Page 32)
“Rather, the purpose was to make sure that the grounds of the grief and suffering were worked through completely. No facet should be left out; every detail of the human tragedy must be itemized and expressed completely.” (Page 14)
“On the contrary God’s anger is never explosive, unreasonable or unexplainable. It is rather His firm expression of real displeasure with our wickedness and sin.” (Page 62)