2011-11: The Cry
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O Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.  Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!  Replace the evil years with good.  Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory.  And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful.  Yes, make our efforts successful! Psalm 90:13-17

Ever felt like that?  Ever said something similar to God?  Yep, I have had similar things come from my lips this year.  Trouble and pain and blockages and struggle have seemed relentless, though, as I’ve said to friends, “I’m not taking it personally.”  I’m not alone.  For many, this year has been very difficult…ugly even.  From the flooding in January and the ongoing delays in rebuilding for some, to financial difficulties, job losses and personal losses, many are crying out.  Then there are many who have been struggling with long term health issues or family problems for which there has seemed no solution; others who have received news of a terminal nature.  I’ve encountered many who are grieving, many who are frustrated, bewildered, despairing, questioning and who have at times felt hopeless.  Sometimes all we can do is cry…and to cry out. Sometimes it’s the very best thing to do.  It’s the most honest. 

When I think of ‘the cry’, I often think of Hannah’s cry found in 1 Samuel 1, as she cried out in prayer regarding her infertility; I think of the Israelites crying out for mercy as they faced unjust treatment and poor work and living conditions in Egypt; I think of the many Psalmists who have cried in anguish, “How long oh Lord” as they experienced famine, homelessness and attacks from their enemies. Then I’m reminded too, that God Himself, has asked that same question through His prophets (often at the same time His people are complaining and grumbling) desiring, amongst other things, for His people to love and follow Him, to obey and trust Him, or to take a certain action, all of which would help them in and through their circumstances.

To cry out to the Lord is a good thing.  In this passage, Moses is not displaying defiance, or a bratty, demanding attitude.  His cry, while perhaps expressing anguish, is also a cry of faith.  Inherently we see he has a stable and strong confidence in the absolute goodness and faithfulness of God in the midst of uncomfortable and long term trouble. 

I am reminded of two things I was taught years ago:  firstly,  when we go through hard times, what we really believe about God comes to the surface; and secondly, going through tough times exposes who we really are – those attitudes, thought patterns and beliefs about ourselves that can often go hidden and unexamined during the ‘nice’ times.  That can be scary, but it is also a great starting point for dealing with the misnomers we hold about God, and to put to death those lingering characteristics of the “old nature”.   Not comfort-able, maybe, but ultimately beneficial. 

During these times we have many questions – many of which either remain unanswered or receive unsatisfactory ones.  Sometimes, like Hannah, our cry is misunderstood.  Or like Job, we receive little or unhelpful forms of comfort. Often as we witness the cry of others, we are left breathless, scrambling to know what we can possibly say to be of help and to bring hope.  Sometimes we find that (to borrow a line from a song by Ronan Keating) we do “say it best when we say nothing at all” – realising that sitting, listening and loving our friends as they grieve may be just what they need.

I particularly like verse 14 in this passage:  “Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.” What a great thing to pray – very wise!  It is a challenge, yet it is comforting.  The word “unfailing” here, may also be translated “befriending”.  When we find satisfaction in the befriending love of God, we gain something stable to hold onto in the midst of the rollercoaster that is life. While often it is impossible for us to change certain circumstances, we can ask God to help change us – our attitude, our reactions etc.  The good news? We don’t have to scurry after it or scrape for it ourselves. As Moses did, we call out to God asking Him to help us and our role is to co-operate with His Spirit as He does it.  

Whatever your “cry” is, know that your Abba – your Heavenly Daddy, does indeed hear you and will answer.  He is not embarrassed by tears.  He is not daunted by questions.  He does not become fretful over expressions of frustration or confusion. 

Over this Christmas period, also spare a thought and a prayer for those who have lost loved ones, who have lost homes, who are still trying to pick up the various pieces experienced through this year’s natural disasters.   And know, be assured and take encouragement in this:  God specialises in broken pieces.  (Psalm 147:3; Isaiah 42:3)

Belinda Tigell is an Australian singer-songwriter, speaker, teacher, worship leader and author. Find her regular blogs on belindatigellministries.com. 
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Other Blogs
* JUBILEE album blog - Why Jubilee
* JUBILEE album blog 2 - The Year of Jubilee
* JUBILEE album blog 3 - Child of Promise (Gal 4)
* JUBILEE album blog 4 - Meant to Be (Eph 1:17-19a)
* JUBILEE album blog 5 - RIDER (Scriptures from Revelation)
* Somebody Find Me - the story behind the song for RUOK Day
2010-10: A God to be Known
2010-11: With My God, I Can!
2011: Is It Clear? -- Thinking About What We Sing About At Christmas
2011-04: The Choice to Choose
2011-06: Wooing and Pursuing Love
2012-01: Waiting For My Fish to Come In
2012-03: Bless the Lord, Extol Him Forever
2012-06: Motivate Me
2012-09: Jesus, The Renovator
2012-11: THROUGH to get TO
2013-01: Contemplations and Commitments
2013-04: To Obey is Better than Sacrifice
2013-06: Shaken & Stirred
2013-09: Faith in the Valley of the Mundane
2013-12: Be With & Behold HIM
2013-12: Christmas Thoughts - BEING & BEHOLDING
2014-04: Do You Hear What I Hear?
2014-06: Good Advice; Godly Wisdom
2015-03: The Great Pain Reliever - Notes from the road #JubileeCD #albumtour
2015-06: Live Loved
2015-10: An Afar Off Promise
2015-12: Mary Meditations (Reflections for Advent)
2016-02: "Dis'ing" the "Dis"
2016-04: Reacting in Fear or Responding in Faith
2016-07: Just Travelling Through
2016-09: God Around The Edges
2016-11: Looking Back, Looking Forward
2017-03: What to Wear!? - Part 1
2017-06: What to Wear?! Part 2
2017-10: Prayer Worrying OR Prayer Warrior?
2017-12: ADVENT Thoughts 1 - What is Advent?
2017-12: ADVENT Thoughts 2 - O Come O Come Emmanuel - Part A: Emmanuel
2017-12: ADVENT Thoughts 3 - O Come O Come Emmanuel - Part B: Branch of Jesse & The Key of David
2017-12: ADVENT Thoughts 4 - O Come O Come Emmanuel - Part C: Our Light, Lord, Wisdom and Might
2018-03: You Crown the Year - Thoughts on calling & culling in 2018
2018-06: Embracing Mystery
2018-06: Lyrics to the hymn "I Cannot Tell"
2018-11: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger