Life is a series of events that is filled with moments of intense joy and seasons of pain and suffering. Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy by Mark Vroegop is concerned with the later. The author is acutely aware that people who live in a fallen world will inevitably face what William Cowper refers to as the “dark clouds of Providence.”
There have been a few notable contributions in recent days that address the subject of suffering. Tim Keller’s, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering and Paul David Tripp’s, Suffering are two examples of books that tackle the subject of suffering that are faithful to Scripture and offer readers a glimpse of hope through the prism of Scripture. Like the aforementioned books, Vroegrop wrestles with subject. But Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy is unique in that is focuses on the subject of lament.
“The aim of this book,” writes Vroegrop, “is to help you discover the grace of lament – to encourage you to find deep mercy in the dark clouds.” His mission is accomplished in three parts:
Part 1: Learning to Lament/Psalms of Lament
Part 2: Learning from Lament: Lamentations
Part 3: Living with Lament: Personal and Community Applications
The author defines lament as “a prayer that leads to trust.” Such a prayer leads to two crucial questions:
- “Where are you, God?”
- “If you love me, why is this happening?”
Lament, then, is “the transition between pain and promise.”
With this solid foundation, the author shows how Christians are both commended and commanded to make lament to God.
Ultimately, painful seasons of life can be “platforms for worship.” These seasons lead the people of God to trust him fully and deeply. “Trust,” writes Vroegop, “is believing what you know to be true even though the facts of suffering might call that belief into question. Lament keeps us turning toward trust by giving us language to step into the wilderness between our painful reality and our hopeful longings.”
I found Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy to be an immensely helpful and practical book. This book gives believers permission to grieve – even wail and mourn. But after grief comes another day, which leads to worship.
Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy is intimately tied to the Word of God and directs the people of God to the pathway that leads to him. Indeed, as the author notes, “Lament is the language of those stumbling in their journey to find mercy in dark clouds.”
Five takeaways are offered as a means of encouragement:
- “Lament is how we tunnel our way to truth.”
- “Lament is how we experience grace no matter what we face.”
- “Lament gives us hope because it gives us a glimpse of truth.”
- “Lament vocalizes a desire for justice that is unfulfilled.”
- “In dark clouds, there is deep mercy as we discover the grace of lament.”
Readers will truly discover how to apply the grace of God in this well-written and deeply God-honoring book.