Imprisoned to Hope: Forgiveness as a Form of Lament

by: Vernon Burger


The tears of God are the strength of history. It is this paradox that is the pathway for an honest faith that is both honoring to God and able to be true to every day life. “Imprisoned to Hope” will help you:

1. Learn The Big Story of God’s redemption for all creation

2. See how to recover lament as a way for honest faith

3. Know that forgiveness itself is a type of lament

4. Live out the the hope of God’s merciful presence in all of life

When we understand that God is fully present, and affected, during the deepest times of violation, we are then empowered to vocalize our greatest pains and see that honest faith is not only filled with praise, but can even include pain and doubt. It is this type of biblical faith that allows us to see His merciful presence in all situations. This is the path to being imprisoned to hope.


“You would think that Christians would be experts in forgiveness, not only because we’ve been forgiven much but also because we’re commanded by Christ to forgive others. But unforgiveness is a perennial problem in the Church. Why? Enter Vernon Burger’s insightful study on the importance of lament. Based on his careful study of the Scriptures, Burger describes what he calls the “anatomy of lament,” that which is constitutive of genuine, liberating, revolutionary forgiveness. Since we don’t know how to truly grieve over our sin—not only our personal foibles but also the injustices of the world—we fail to realize the forgiveness only Christ can bring. Punctuated by his own story of abuse and restless longing for healing, Burger explains how a wounded soul finds restoration in the singular act of biblical lamentation in Christ. A must-read for those who identify with Jesus’s lament on the cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

Rodney Reeves

Dean and Redford Professor of Biblical Studies, Southwest Baptist University • Bolivar, MO

“It’s so rare to see a book on this subject, but it is beyond necessary and long overdue. This great work will lead you to a healthy perspective of worship in hardship, maybe for the first time.”

Tedashii Anderson

Artist/Performer, Radio Host, Speaker, Writer

“Vernon is a tour guide in the truest sense of the word. He walks us gently through the twists and turns of violent valleys no one plans for their life. Unfortunately, life forces us to face hardships. With his own story of pain and promise, Vernon not only teaches us to trust God through tragedy, he teaches us to trust God with tragedy. Take the journey ahead and you will begin to hear healing and find hope through the power of lament. God’s unparalleled grace and mercy are woven like a tapestry through the pages you hold in your hands. Read and find freedom.”

Jeremy Foster

Pastor, Hope City Church • Houston, Texas

The American church does not understand lamentation and does not like to lament. The unwise aversion to lament has contributed to the thinness of American Christianity. With Imprisoned to Hope Vernon Burger has sent up a signal flare and alerted us to the loss we suffer when we refuse the necessary role of lament. In this well-researched and well-written book, Burger traces lament through the Bible and insightfully connects it with the practice of Christian forgiveness. Imprisoned to Hope offers a pathway toward healing that many of us need to walk.

Brian Zahnd

Pastor & Author of Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, Word of Life Church • St. Joseph, Missouri