Updated: Dec 19, 2019
"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along." -Psalm 40:1-2 (NLT)
Who here has ever heard someone tell you one of these things:
"You need to get thicker skin."
"Christians are supposed to be joyful."
"Just wait on God and trust the process."
"Crying doesn't help anything."
Let me raise my hand first. I have heard many of those sayings during times in my life when I am feeling down. In fact, these sayings are all true and many times are coming from someone who means well. In all honesty, I really should have thicker skin and stop letting little things bother me so much. As a Christian, I need be joyful in the hope of the Lord. As someone in a period of waiting, I strive to wait patiently for God to move me. And, if I'm being totally truthful, crying doesn't help very often. But what about when our days are going miserably, when we are sleep deprived, when bills pile up, and when trials just hit us from left and right? Sometimes it's really hard to swallow phrases like, "Crying doesn't help anything."
David, who is considered to be a man after God's own heart, talks about feeling sad, lonely, and depressed many times throughout the Psalms. For example, in Psalm 69, David opens with:
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.
Just think about what David is saying in this passage. He is in the mire. He is sinking. He is crying out to God so hard that his throat is sore. He is searching for God so much that his eyes are beginning to fail. Now, after hearing all this, how do you think God answered David? By saying, "Quit crying. It's not helping!"? No, probably not. I believe instead, that God lovingly heard David and lifted him out of the mire rather than rebuking him.
Let's read Psalm 40:1-2 again:
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
I have read these two verses in Psalm 40 dozens of times. Yet, there was something I always missed until recently: David is both patiently waiting and crying at the same time. How can that be? Aren't these two things opposite from one another? Well, no. They aren't.
The fact is, waiting on God is rarely easy. There will be times when waiting feels very painful. During these times, it is okay to cry out to the Lord. He expects it. In fact, He commands us to cast all of our anxieties on Him. So why wouldn't we? When we do so, God will come and comfort us. He will give us His Spirit and we will experience peace and joy that can only come from Him. Then, in His perfect timing, He will lift us out of the mire. So, Dear Reader, don't be afraid to cry out to God the next time you are in pain. He won't rebuke you. He wants to have a relationship with you, because He loves you immensely.
How can I pray for you today?
*Note: I realize that Proverbs 31 Ministries did a devotion today on this same Bible verse from Psalm 40. It was not my intention to copy them as I started writing this blog post last week.