It’s appropriate that Eli’s footprints fit in my Bible, in the empty space at the end of Lamentations. My son’s tiny, lifeless feet marked a page where God’s sovereignty and man’s suffering collide in poetic chaos.

Lamentations is a book that is both foreign and troubling to many. The poet’s words are unfiltered and unsettling, causing one to wonder if we’re allowed to speak so boldly.

But in the loss of my only son, this book has offered release for my afflicted soul.

It beckons us to remember – or, perhaps, learn – that lament is worship, despite its disappearance in many of our churches.

It tells us that grief is necessary, messy, and sacred.

It urges us to reject shallow platitudes and wade in the deep waters of the unresolved.

It challenges us with the tension of a Creator who both hurts and heals.

It confronts us with the complexity of honest faith in response to horrible suffering.

It permits us to groan boldly before our holy, gracious, and confounding God, promising that “though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.”

This startling book is a reminder that the Lord validates our complicated journey through the wilderness of grief.

As I read the cries of God’s people – and glance at my son’s footprints – I too call out in agony. I struggle for words that give voice to my pain and wonder if healing is on the horizon.

And I wait for an answer from the only One who can bring restoration, the only One who could have rescued my son.