“The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the LORD:
‘O LORD, I prayed, save my life!’”
— PSALM 116:3-4 (NRSV)
As night gives wind to the desolation of sorrow, and our pillows are made sodden with the processes of overflow, there is an important sharing — these tears go to God.
One lesson in life that we don’t learn until we do: our sorrows are destined to be sent to the Almighty, the living God. To no other place-of-being do tears belong.
Praying Our Sorrows
There are many misconceptions about prayer.
For starters, prayer in lament is not some pious speech to God telling him what he already knows in eloquent words. Rather, it’s the barely intelligible, faintly or raucous soul-scream of a desperate person who knows no other way; the one who cannot, in their present moment, reconcile their life.
Praying our sorrows is simply acknowledging that God is there, in our midst, listening to the somewhat hollow echoes that emit from our spirits. We may not even think of it as prayer at all. God knows better. This, indeed, is prayer in the most powerful form: the prayer of need.
God’s Consistent Response
Psalm 116:8-9 says:
“For you [God] have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling.
I walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.”
The agency of God’s response is prayer, and the product is peace for the morning (Psalm 30:5).
The consistent response of the Almighty God, as we practice the Presence of his enduring Spirit, knowing our Lord is there as he has promised, is he hears us.
We know this. Deeper within it is known.
The fact of God’s Presence doesn’t change our situations; our sorrows are not lifted in an instant. Instead, we are joining our honest authenticity in sharing our deepest hearts, with faith to know the experience of sorrow will be lifted. This situation will not be changed, but our feelings toward it will.
Honesty and Faith Promote Healing
A miraculous thing occurs when we are completely honest, laid bare, before the Lord. Our God uses such courageous portrayals of sincere feeling to help us heal ourselves in the name of the Almighty.
The second component is faith: to believe that God can, and will, heal us in the methods and timing of the Divine. Faith says, “This will occur.” It believes; even better if faith recalls past vindication.
When we will join our honest humility with the faith to express this before God, knowing we can be healed of our disconsolation, we have the precious ingredients and the method to enjoy a miracle.
Sorrow compels us to pray, and, by convening with God in confused silence, God does hear, God does feel for us, and God does help. Honest admission of our weakness and real need of God is a blessed approach. Honesty and faith, with God’s help, promote peace for the moment and the hope for healing.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.