Walking with God Through the Valley: Recovering the Purpose of Biblical Lament, By May Young
Walking with God Through the Valley
  • Length: 210 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: January 07, 2025
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0396
  • ISBN: 9781514003961

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Recovering the Practice of Lament

The church desperately needs to recover the practice of lament. But what exactly are we asking for?

The call for lament echoes throughout the pages of Scripture. This ever-present genre shaped the lives of ancient communities, and it should shape the practices of churches today. And yet contemporary Christian communities often don't know how to engage texts of lament in their contexts. In a world experiencing so much pain, a recovery of biblical lament is more necessary than ever.

In Walking with God Through the Valley, Old Testament scholar May Young offers a guide for readers to engage lament texts both in their church communities and in their personal lives. Drawing deeply from key passages in Scripture, including the Psalms, Habakkuk, and Lamentations, Young posits that true lament must come out of a deep understanding of the biblical text. Through practicing lament in our own lives, we can move through pain and suffering and experience God's renewed hope.

"A fantastic book! Not only do we learn more about lament, but we are propelled through personal examples to practice lament individually and communally. May this book help the church recover lament as a central part of life with God."

Andrew Abernethy, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College

"Walking with God Through the Valley: Recovering the Purpose of Biblical Lament is a carefully woven tapestry centered on an undervalued but oh-so essential thread of life—lament. Dr. Young skillfully amplifies the promised healing and liberation revealed when we lean into personal and communal lament. Readers will see that recovering biblical lament avails us to the healing, humility, and hindsight our soul longs to posture."

Lori E. Banfield, lecturer of psychology and practical theology at Eastern University and author of Walking Worthy of My Calling: Journey Back to the Likeness of God


1. Introduction
2. Fine Tuning the Differences Between Lament Genre and the practice of lament
Historical Development of the Lament Genre
Address or Invocation
Confession of Trust /Assurance of Being Heard
Vow of Praise
The Difference Between Corporate (Communal) Laments and Individual Laments
Reflection Questions
3. Examining and Comparing Other Examples of Ancient Near East (ANE) Laments
Sumerian City Laments
Learning from Similarities and Differences
The relationship between human beings and the divine
How prayers function
Reflection Questions
4. What is the purpose of lament?
To Give Voice to Our Pain
To Provide an Avenue to Engage God
To lead us into greater hope
Reflection Questions
5. Lament and Sin/Repentance
Reflection Questions
6. Lament and Doubt/Questions
Reflection Questions
7. Lament and Injustice/Unfair Circumstances and Anger
Reflection Questions
8. Lament and Loneliness/Abandonment
Reflection Questions
9. Lament and Sickness/Physical Pain
10. Lament and Death/Loss
Reflection Questions


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May Young

May Young (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of biblical studies and chairs the Department of Biblical Studies, Christian Ministries, Intercultural Studies, and Philosophy at Taylor University. She has contributed to several volumes focused on lament, including Reading the Psalms Theologically (Lexham) and World Christianity and COVID-19: Discourses and Perspective (Routledge). She is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature and serves on the board of directors of the Institute of Biblical Research, as well as the editorial board for Sacred Roots.