Scripture Reading: Psalm 55:1-23
I locked myself in the closet and tried to pray despite my bleary eyes and knocking knees. I simply couldn’t face the day. It was too hard, too painful. There was no resolve to muster, no bootstraps big enough to pull myself up by. When I read Psalm 55, I wonder if, perhaps, the psalmist penned it from a similar place.
This is one of the things I love most about the Word of God. It is not sanitized, polished up to a high shine, and put on display. The Bible does not stick to feel-good mantras or platitudes that make us all smile and nod. There is grit between the pages because, let’s face it, there is grit in all our lives.
The psalmist opens this passage begging to be heard. There’s no swagger oozing from the tip of his pen. No pretty, religious language found in these verses. He is desperate. His need to hear from the Lord is visceral.
“Listen to me!”
“Don’t tune me out.”
“Do You hear me?”
His gut-level honesty makes me want to stand up and cheer.
Because there are days I can’t start my prayers neat and tidy. There are moments when my need is so great, and my heart is so tied up in knots, I can’t get much past the lump in my throat. There are times when, if I’m not sure He’s listening, I don’t know how to find the strength to go on. If I could see myself in these moments, I imagine I might look something like Hannah, crying out to God, so wrought with despair that I look drunk or crazy (1 Samuel 1:9-18).
But God heard the cry of Hannah. He heard the psalmist’s plea. And when we are restless, in anguish, afraid and trembling and horrified, or fighting the urge to take flight (Psalm 55:2,4-6), He hears us too. It seems desperation is a prayer language of its own.
It was a medical crisis that sent me to the closet that day. It was betrayal by a dear friend that sent the psalmist reeling here, to writing this psalm. Whether it’s the horror of what you see on the news, or the pain of a personal crisis, cry out! The Lord is listening. He doesn’t need us to get the words right, or ask us to wait until we calm down to come before the throne. We can bring Him our snotty noses and ugly cries. He alone can transform them into peace and joy.
It was in the closet of desperation that I learned this: God is my provider, supernaturally changing my circumstances. And He is also my sustainer, supernaturally carrying me through those circumstances. Both are grace. Perhaps that’s why the psalmist made this declaration, even before his circumstances had shifted:
“Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you” (v.22).
When we hurl our burdens at Christ’s throne, without attempting to wrap them up in pretty bows, we find He is more than able to carry them. Today, whatever our circumstances, whatever is happening in the world around us, we can bring our desperation as an offering of faith, trusting He will get us through. His will, His love, and His justice will prevail.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.