There are countless resources out there that offer help to those who are suffering. Many are written from an “out of the storm” perspective with a clarity that may not have been present during the initial intensity of the hardship. The author will look back into their own trials and share what they have learned through their pain.

This precious wisdom from those with wounds can comfort the afflicted and help them as they stumble forward in their distress.

But there’s a different perspective that can also bring profound relief to sufferers. It’s the present-tense cries of others – words penned during the storm, not after.

This wrestling is unique because you primarily get the process, not the product. You get to hear the mess, not the methods. The questions, not the answers. Their confusion clarifies that it’s okay to be unraveled by the chaos. Their groaning is a gift long before it’s been wrapped up with lessons. And their tears teach us that sorrow is something sacred, not something to subdue.

The clarity of hindsight is helpful, but so is the complexity of the present.

That’s why these three books have been invaluable to me in my grief: God’s Word (especially Lamentations, Job, and the Psalms), ‘A Grief Observed’, and ‘Lament for a Son’. These pages are filled with stories, laments, and journals of faithful men and women who courageously call out from the darkness.

The rawness may be unsettling at first. It may even be tempting to think it’s a hindrance to healing, not a help. But their honest and holy heartache is a blessing to us all as we wander through this wilderness. It deepens our compassion, prepares us for suffering, gives voice to our pain, and permits our lamenting.