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Cry Out to Jesus

(I’ve been writing FYI articles for ten years. Wow! This post, written almost exactly nine years ago, is the only post anyone’s ever asked me for a copy of. I’ve never thought of resurfacing a post until today, so perhaps God had this in mind for you, dear reader.)

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73:25 NIV)

Sometimes trials in our lives are like Seattle rain — misty, intermittently obnoxious, but overall a minor inconvenience. Other times, events in your life hit you like an earthquake; without warning, they just knock you right over, and you never saw it coming. As you lie there on your back, surveying the damage, weighing the scale of the repairs you’ll need to make, your only option is both the simplest and the hardest thing you could be asked to do… get back up again.

I’m a passionate person. Whatever I feel, I feel deeply. If you need someone to be excited for you, I’m your girl. If you need someone to be outraged on your behalf, I will fume and rage until the problem gets fixed (or you feel better or). It also means that the more I hope for something, the more devastated I am when it doesn’t come to pass.

Typically, the things I hoped for and didn’t receive are completely out of my control (since if I could have controlled them, I would have made them happen!). Those situations are also the hardest to deal with emotionally, because I may not understand them and I can’t blame anyone. Without a target for my righteous anger, my disappointment just sits there in my heart, burning and hurting with no outlet. It feels overwhelming — if I don’t do something with it, I’ll suffocate! At times like those, I have no option but to cry out to God.

Fortunately for us all, God can take it! “Pour out your hearts to me,” he says (as in Psalm 62:8), “for I am your refuge!” I can remember several times in my life when I have literally been prostrate on the floor, weeping as though my heart were broken (indeed, perhaps it was), begging to be released, begging him to siphon off some of that pain. I wished I could actually pour it out somewhere, because my heart was so full that I couldn’t hold it in, but I didn’t know where to put it.

And God met me there. Sometimes he gave me wisdom, giving me a direction for my next baby step. But most of the time, he just gave me comfort. It’s nearly indescribable, and not at all what I wanted, which was surcease of pain. It felt like… safety. It was safe to feel what I was feeling, because God is so much bigger than the emotion and the situation. That’s where the first part of Psalm 62:8 (NIV) comes in: “Trust in him at all times.” The slim feeling of safety was a very tenuous thread to hang on to, but I clung to him with the faith of desperation. Or, as I told a friend once (through gritted teeth), “I’m trusting God like a man bites the bullet!” When I had trouble sleeping, the comfort was sometimes a verse, such as Psalm 73:25 (above) or John 14:1. I would repeat it over and over in my head (or aloud, if my anxiety was louder than my mental voice) until the worst of the storm had passed.

And always, always, the storms do eventually pass. Maybe the damage they leave on your heart is like scratches in platinum, which displace it but can’t remove it. Maybe your hurts are more like scratches in gold, which have scraped away a tiny amount of precious metal. The important fact is that both metals can be polished again to the same luster they had when they were first forged.

You and I, if we will pour out our hearts to God, if we will let him fill us up and reshape us and polish us, can shine like new again. We can reach out to him… and get back up again.

The title of this article is a Third Day song that also lifted me up in dark times.

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