We all have our good days and bad days. Sometimes, even as Christ's followers, it seems that the bad days can outweigh the good. Things go wrong -- your kids miss the bus for the third time in a row and you're running late again for work. Your car's making 'that noise' and the Check Engine light boldly refuses to go out. Gossipy, catty coworkers have decided to put YOU in the rumor mill hot seat today. For the second time this month, an envelope arrives in the mail from you bank, containing the thin slip of paper with the dreaded words 'Insufficient Funds' emblazoned across the top, and you realize your rent is due in two days. Your kitty heaves up a ginormous hairball on your newly cleaned carpet AND your best shoes. And one of your answering machine messages reminds you that you promised to bring your yummy homemade brownies to tonight's 7:00 Bible study -- but it's 6:00 and you haven't even made dinner, let alone brownies.
Then there are the other, bigger things in life that go wrong, coming along like tsunamis to knock us down: a spouse up and leaves us for someone else; a parent dies; a friend betrays us; a lover rejects us; our children disappoint us with their foolish choices and destructive behaviors; a promotion is given to someone else or we lose our job entirely; our health concerns continue to spiral out-of-control, no matter what we or the doctors do.
Some days, we're better at putting on our happy face masks and going through the motions, chirping "I'm fine!" to anyone who asks. But then there are other days when even as our eyelids begin to flutter open and before our feet can touch base with the bedroom carpet, those heavy burdens we carry seem to come crashing through the roof for an unwelcome early morning 'meet and greet,' pressing us down before we can even rise up, shattering us. Anguish, hopelessness and depression become our captors. We are overwhelmed and broken before our morning coffee has a chance to brew.
These are the days when we can do nothing else but cry out to Jesus. These are the days when we NEED to remember that He is everything to us:
He is our King and our Friend
He is the Lover of our soul
He is our Wonderful Counselor
He is our Savior and Redeemer Who lives
He is our Helper
He is our Prince of Peace
He is our Rock and our Refuge
He is our beloved Good Shepherd
In my times of despair and feeling overwhelmed (whether caused by others or by my own hand), I've learned that the best place for me to find comfort, strength, encouragement, joy, peace and hope is in God's Word...and more specifically, in the Book of Psalms. While many of the 150 psalms are happy ones, centering on praise to, worship of and thanksgiving for our Lord, there are also others that address the discouragement, anguish, fears, hopelessness, sorrow and trials we all struggle with during our lives. Over the years, the Book of Psalms has become my book of hope.
Throughout Psalms, in each trying circumstance, in every moment of pain, sorrow, brokenness and oppression, the various psalm writers know exactly what to do and to whom they should run. They don't look to their families, friends, physicians or their government for help or comfort or strength --they call on and cry out to the Lord.
'Evening, morning and noon, I cry out in distress and He hears my voice.' (Psalm 55:17)
'Out of the depths I cry to You, O LORD; O Lord, hear my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.' (Psalm 130:1-2)
'For He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.' (Psalm 72:12)
They pull no punches in telling Him just how they feel (because after all, He knows His children inside and out; He knows the hearts of the ones He loves, so why try to hide those feelings from Him?), as the Sons of Korah do in Psalm 88:
'You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavily upon me; You have overwhelmed me with all Your waves. (Selah) You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. Do You show Your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead raise up and praise You? Why, O LORD, do You reject me and hide Your face from me?' (Psalm 88:6-8;10;14)
They present all their complaints to Him:
'I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him, I tell my trouble (Psalm 142:1-2) and 'Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint.' (Psalm 64:1)
and encourage others (like us) to do the same:
'Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. Selah.' (Psalm 62:8)
'Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.' (Psalm 55:22)
I gain comfort in the knowledge that the Lord's anointed people weren't always perfect 'shiny, happy people'; they hurt and were depressed and felt angry and despondent as I often do. I'm not alone.
Because in our suffering, people can't always be there for us. They have their own lives to lead, their own families to care for, their own jobs to go to, their own health problems to contend with, their own issues and pain to deal with. Although they may long to help and comfort and counsel us, they can't always be available to us.
But there is a Friend, One Who sticks closer than a brother: Jesus. He is our faithful, loving Friend Who is always available to us, 24/7, 365 days a year. He is not overwhelmed or overbooked. We'll never hear, "I'm sorry, I'm unavailable to speak with you at the moment, but if you leave a message, I'll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible."
He is Immanuel -- God with us. He is El Roi -- The God Who Sees. He is not blind to your hurts and grief, or your fear and anxiety. He is Jehovah -Shammah -- God is there. Yes, He is right there wherever you are....in your emptiness and loneliness; in your hopelessness and brokenness.
'The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.' (Psalm 34:18)
Are you brokenhearted and unloved; anxious and exhausted; poor and needy, in distress and in despair? Look to the One Who knows and understands what it's like to be lonely and rejected; to be hurt and cast aside; to be in anguish and feel forsaken. He's been there. He's Jesus. Cry out to Him.
There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary,
And love for the broken hearts;
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing,
He'll meet you wherever you are....
Cry out to Jesus,
Cry out to Jesus. ~ Cry Out To Jesus, by Third Day