– Joe Fornear
Once during a particularly rough patch in my Stage IV cancer battle, a nurse popped unexpectedly into my hospital room. She must have noticed my eyes were watering a little. She presented a pain level chart with ten emojis. Busted, I pointed to the face with tears on the cheeks – pain level 10. So she gave me what seemed like a cart load of meds, which helped for a time, but I still needed something more. When she left, I began to “cry out” to God, my Stronghold. I suddenly felt His Presence and comfort giving me super-natural strength to bear up under the pain. Can’t get that from a shot or pill.
Sometimes life’s pain can be so physically and/or emotionally draining that something needs to give… quickly. When even the best of human efforts makes little difference, there is always something we can do – “cry out” to the Lord.
Now some might think crying out is a sign of weakness. Right, it is. One of the “aha moments” in my own fight with cancer was to admit how weak I was, because well, I was pretty weak – still am. And now, while helping people fight their cancer, I often find myself encouraging people to embrace their weakness, giving them “permission to be weak.” As Paul said:
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:10
The Bible’s list of “weak” people who have cried out to the Lord in the midst of affliction is lengthy and impressive: Job & Hezekiah (when they were sick); David (when he was hunted by murderous enemies), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Habakkuk, Paul (when asking God to remove his troubles – his “thorn in the flesh”), Peter (while sinking in the lake), even saints and angels in heaven. And yes, Jesus too:
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. – Hebrews 5:7
No matter what happens, on the worst of days or years, He is there and He cares and strengthens us when we cry out. King David had many occasions to cry out and he always seemed to get something back from the Lord:
In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears. – Psalm 18:6
I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. – Psalm 30:1-2 (He can heal straight up – emotionally or physically!)
I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord. How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. – Psalm 40:1-4
The final cry we share today is, according to the title of Psalm 102, “A Prayer of the Afflicted when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD.” Appropriate, as it shows that crying out is for all us afflicted ones… of all generations:
But You, O LORD, abide forever, and Your name to all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion; For it is time to be gracious to her, for the appointed time has come. – Psalm 102:12-13
People say a good cry cleanses the soul, but a good “cry out” to Jesus Christ the Savior can even bring eternal cleansing of our soul. Have you cried out to Him for eternal salvation, believing in Him alone for forgiveness of all your sin? I’ve done this and am incredibly glad! More on how and why here. And let us know if you received Jesus as your Savior through a book, blog, email or tract from Stronghold Ministry, we’d like to encourage you more and it will encourage us. We’re crying out for your good!