I had a wrong view of God when I thought I needed to keep my emotions from him. I didn’t want to bother God with my cries and I didn’t want to appear anxious. I didn’t want to be a complaining Christian. But offering God an authentic lament is different than a complaint. Laments are always allowed in his presence.

Jesus lamented, “the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head” at night (Matt. 8:20). Jesus lamented, “How long?” when his followers were faithless (Matt. 17:17). He lamented that the very people he wanted to gather as children were rejecting him and were bent on killing God’s prophets (Matt. 23:34–37). Jesus even lamented when his friend Lazarus died (John 11:35). Why would I think my Christian vocabulary would be void of laments?

We can’t focus solely on our laments without also remembering his. Lamenting is not only for when our faith runs low; lamenting is for the faithful. Like Jesus, we can let our cries be known to God. Lamenting serves as evidence that we pray to a God who listens to us. What other God comforts a lamenter’s cry?

When we face a prolonged season of waiting or grief, it is tempting to keep our laments inside. Suffering in silence can lead us to become self-focused instead of God-focused. Instead, as we lament out loud, we can remind ourselves that we pray to a suffering servant who understands our pain.

Esther Fleece is the author of No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending (Zondervan). You can find Esther at www.EstherFleece.com and on Twitter at @EstherFleece