An all too common theme that we see throughout the Psalms is this congregational cry of,
“WHERE ARE YOU GOD?! WAKE UP FROM YOUR SLUMBER!”
It is a cry that for one reason or another in this day in age we do not hear from the lips of our 21st century congregations. Are we too proud to cry out to God? Are we too afraid that God could not handle our true feelings and emotions? Are we just not mature enough in our faith these days to really lay down the laments of our people. I certainly know that each day I read the news there seems to always be something that had happened that qualifies the church to cry out to God on their behalf! Are we afraid of being complainers to the Lord of Creation?
This line of thought came to me one early morning, about 4:30 or so as I heard my 8 month year old son crying out for help. He had stuck his arm through the railing of his crib and had awoken with fear that he could not get his arm back out. As I heard his cries through our video monitor, I immediatly sprung into action as I crossed the room in the dark, went through the hallway, and entered his room. The expression on his face was an expression of relief. I un-trapped his arm and placed him back in the middle of his bed. He immediatly rolled over, and feeling the safety of being watched over, went back to sleep. The crying out, as I sat there and looked at him, was instinctual. He was not taught to cry out, but being made in the fashion he was by our creator he was made to express his needs in a lament.
As we grow up, somewhere along the way forget how to cry out. We are afraid to awaken our guardians or parents. I don’t know about you, but I for one was the child that would walk into my parents room at about the age of 10 and just stare at my father until he woke up. If my staring didn’t do it, then I would begin to whisper as softly as I could, “Dad.”
A little louder, “Dad.”
And this conversation would continue until finally I surely terrified him. Apparently I am not the only child who has had this experience as well known comeidan Bill Engvall tells a bit of his own experience of being the father who is awoken in this manner.
(Start at 3:37 till the end)
This is where I though believe many of us are in our relationship with our sleeping Father. We are for some reason just too scared or too immature to let our Heavenly Father know that we are in need of him. We have forgetten how to cry out like the Psalmists of the past. Maybe we think that God can’t handle it…but until we learn to become real with our Father in heaven, never will we be able to mature in our faith. Until we allow God to respond to the real needs of our lives, we will have to settle for a metiocre relationship that is superficial. It is in our crying out the with the deep hurts that we experience do we begin to let God into the stuff that makes up who we are. And it is then, and only then, does God really allow the Spirit to transform our lives. Because our lives are not made up of the superficial things that go on at skin level, but the real stuff that keeps us alive is deep within.
I believe this is why a true sign of maturity in a person is the ability to ask for help when it is needed. To be able to cry out, “I need your help!” This is precisely what the mature in faith have done and have shown so well to us in the Psalms of lament.
Psalms of Communal Lament:
- 12, 44, 58, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 85, 89*, 90, 94, 123, 126, 129
Psalms of Individual Lament:
- 3, 4, 5, 7, 9-10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 25, 26, 27*, 28, 31, 36*, 39, 40:12-17, 41, 42-43, 52*, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 64, 70, 71, 77, 86, 89*, 120, 139, 141, 142