“May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word.” Psalm 119:169 (NIV)
Crying is a strange thing. Sometimes we cry over an emotionally charged movie (hello The Notebook!), or because the glaring sun is in our face and we forgot our shades, or because we’ve laughed so much the joy physically spills from our eyes. Of course, it often goes along with bad news, heartache, and goodbyes, too. That’s the truly painful crying. Or sometimes it occurs in the kitchen, like for me, yesterday with the chopping of a particularly vicious red onion—an utterly unpleasant experience where I ended up with mascara down my face, stinging eyes, and felt like an emotionally drained raccoon by the time the ordeal was over.
And some cries are tearless.
Ever experienced those? They are passionate and robust and imploring. Some of our cries are shouts from the heart, and some are guttural sounds we can barely form into words. They can even be silent. But the thing is, when we cry to the Lord, no matter what it sounds like, He ALWAYS hears. You know how the newborn baby cries and it’s fed and freshly diapered so we have no earthly idea what the problem is? It’s not like that with out heavenly Father— even if we don’t fully comprehend the reason for our own cries, he fully understands.
Sometimes, we cry to the Lord just because we don’t know what to do next.
I feel a bit like that right now. I’m at a pivotal stage in my life and I don’t really know quite where to pivot! It comes at us in waves, doesn’t it? Life is all normal and on course and predictable, and then you find yourself with goals and major milestones suddenly behind you, and a big open space before you.
What to do?
My last six weeks included two trips to the other side of the country for my daughter’s wedding, her Uni graduation, and then my son’s high school graduation, oh—and a new book published. Preparations and planning from the past year are a distant memory, and I have a blank canvas, which isn’t really blank because I have a hundred things I think I should do. But I need God’s direction in the most desperate way, and so I cry out. Not necessarily with salty tears, but with a waiting heart and bated breath.
Of course, I can also cry out to my husband, to my family, to my friends. And I probably will! But ultimately, it’s our crying out to God that really counts. The mere act of turning to Him— in times not of peril, but of indecision and confusion— speaks volumes. It’s important to know that we NEED him, and that we are NOT IN TOTAL CONTROL.
I realize I have to spend time in prayer, talking to God about my plans and passions. I have to dive into the pages of His Word and receive direction and encouragement. I actually LOVE the way The Message puts the following verses. (Try not to skim- it really is awesome!)
“Let my cry come right into your presence, God;
provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.
Give my request your personal attention,
rescue me on the terms of your promise.
Let praise cascade off my lips;
after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life!
And let your promises ring from my tongue;
every order you’ve given is right.
Put your hand out and steady me
since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel.
I’m homesick, God, for your salvation;
I love it when you show yourself!
Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well,
use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me!
I’ll recognize the sound of your voice.”
PSALM 119: 169-176 (THE MESSAGE)
Yes, praise is a bit part of crying out. It mellows my impatience and infuses my anxiety with joy. When I’m focusing on the Lord, I’m worrying less about me and my issues and agendas. I have to carry on with life while I’m waiting for my next move!
And I DO have to wait. (Quite frankly, I’m not big on waiting, but it is rather important.) And in the waiting, I don’t want to dry out. I don’t want to get all content with doing less or stepping back or getting all “summer mode” with everything. Tempting as it is…
These exciting, standing-at-the-crossroads, life-changing phases can be stressful and a tad unnerving, but ultimately they are an excellent opportunity for us to stretch ourselves and grow closer to the Lord. And while we’re looking at the great unknown around us, wondering where to go next, let’s keep our eyes wide open for something or someone we’ve missed before because we were too wrapped up and engrossed in our stuff.
At the cusp of this summer, cry out (with or without tears) in praise and thanksgiving, and bring everything (your fears, your indecision, your work, your relationships, your dreams, your needs…) before the One who has a plan for each one of us. Thankfully, God is the perfect, patient Father and never, ever tires of His children’s tearful or tearless cries! 🙂
Linking up with HolleyGerth.com and some fabulous encouragers- check them out: