Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.
I have three children and I am sure I said this this to them more often than I remember.
I never really thought about what this statement communicated or what this could do to the idea of being safe to speak about feelings and sadness. Somehow in the midst of my own frustration I stopped being concerned about why they were crying and what was frustrating them, and in my helplessness just wanted the tears to stop.
Psalms 142 is one of the few Psalms where David is crying out to the Lord in complaint. David’s circumstances were in direct contrast to his calling and I can only imagine his fear and his frustration as he found himself trapped and hunted. Here is a man who had been anointed king over all of Israel and yet he is on the run. In verses 3-4 David says, In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.
It sounds a lot like poor pitiful me. It sounds a lot like complaining.
For years I didn’t feel like I could talk about my situation, it felt like whining. And I did not want to burden others with my problems. especially when many of my struggles were by my own doing. I think that mentality spilled over to my prayers and my vulnerable honesty with the Lord. ‘If I cried out to God over this small thing, would he give me something bigger to cry about?’
Scripture says, cast all our anxiety on him because He cares for you… He cares for me. He wants me to cry out to him and he’s not waiting there so that he can give me something more to cry about, he’s there waiting for me to come to him and trust that he already knows what my struggles are, he already knows my weaknesses and my complaints.
David cried out to the Lord, he prayed aloud and called out to Him. He didn’t sugar coat his frustration or downplay his despair. He spoke his complaints to the Lord out loud (v1-2).
A person can only speak one thing at a time, but can have a thousand thoughts in any given moment. When we pray out loud it allows our brains to process what we are thinking without the emotions swirling around in our minds. Our minds are a battlefield and speaking out loud when we pray takes the battle of our mind outside of our mind.
Today’s thought: If we aren’t pouring them out in God’s presence we will find ourselves pouring out our complaints to other people. And that does not bring healing.
Psalm 142 I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.