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Crying out to God
by Diane Eaton 2003

Crying out for help is not something most of us are inclined to do unless we really need it. It is like begging, and we'd rather not do that. I suspect that most of us value our independence too much. Anyway, isn't begging something only the losers do - those who can't make it in life for some reason, or those who "won't" take responsibility for themselves?

What about crying out to God? Is that an indication that we are losers or failures?

The Bible records many examples of people who cried out to God. I would like to examine their predicaments and show how God answered their cries. From these accounts we learn that God wants us to cry out to him. He always hears us and promises to bless us.

A beggar cried out:
There were many beggars around in Jesus' day. One time Jesus and a crowd of followers passed by a roadside beggar who was blind. Imagine the shame that he must have suffered all his life - the shame of being a defective human being, a reject - one who never knew what it was like to have his own independence, or his own occupation, or an important place in the synagogue. Instead, he was a burden and an embarrassment to his parents and everyone else around. Can you imagine living everyday in this predicament, with the rest of society looking down on you?

So when Jesus came along, this beggar had nothing left to lose. No wonder he wasn't afraid to make a very disruptive noise.

"He began to shout,
"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Mk. 10:46

Someone in the crowd told him to be quiet. (Shh! You're making an embarrassing scene! Don't bother the teacher!) They saw no value in the cries of this man. On the other hand, Jesus was delighted with his cries because they were a beautiful expression of his faith. This man wasn't afraid to admit his need. He knew that Jesus could help him. And because the beggar cried out, Jesus restored his sight.

A Canaanite woman cried out:
Another time, a Canaanite woman who had a demon-possessed daughter "came to [Jesus] crying out, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!'" Matt. 15:22 The disciples suggested to Jesus that he send her away. After all, she was being a pest. Besides, she was from a Gentile race - those who weren't even following God and didn't deserve the Lord's attention. Not only that, she was a woman.

Nevertheless, she did not allow the shame of her nationality or her gender to stop her from crying out to the Son of God. It paid off. Jesus listened to her because of her "great faith", and he healed her daughter. It was her trust in Jesus that gave her the boldness to cry out.

The disciples cried out:
The disciples needed to learn that they could trust Jesus. That is why he allowed them to experience times of great need, when they could do nothing but cry out to him. Here is one example:

One day a furious storm suddenly arose while they were in the middle of a lake. What perfect timing! There was not a chance that they could get out of their predicament. They could do nothing but cry out to Jesus, "Lord save us! We're going to drown!" Matt. 8:25 Jesus heard them and rescued them by calming the wind and the waves. This event helped the disciples learn that they could trust him.

The Israelites cried out:
As long as the ancient Israelites had a good life in Egypt, they would never have wanted to cooperate with God's far-out plans for them. They would never have wanted to uproot and relocate to a new and unknown land. Neither would they have seen a need to depend on God. So, after four hundred years, when it was time for them to be leave Egypt, God brought them into a predicament where they became very needy.

For over four hundred, Egypt had been a safe haven, full of the comforts of life - that is, until the Egyptians started oppressing them. That's when things got so bad that they cried out to God. He responded to Moses, saying,

"I have heard their crying out
because of their slave drivers
and I am concerned about their suffering."
Ex. 3:7

By this time the Israelites were willing to let God lead them out of Egypt. In fact, they were eager to get out of there - it was so bad.

Soon after the exodus had begun, God again brought them into a situation where they became needy. When they were at the Red Sea and saw the hoards of Egyptians marching towards them, they knew that they were in a death trap. "They were terrified and cried out to the Lord." Ex. 14:10 Again, God heard their cries and rescued them with a spectacular miracle. He provided an escape for them by parting the waters.

Throughout Israel's sojourn in the desert, and also after they settled in the Promised Land, God kept bringing them into needy situations. Whenever they cried out to him to save them from invading armies, "he answered their prayers because they trusted in him." 1 Chron. 5:20


Jeremiah cried out:
Jeremiah frequently cried out to God because he could see that his people, the Israelites, were in a desperate situation. He also begged them to cry out to God for help. He pleaded,

"Arise, cry out in the night.
Pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children
who faint from hunger…
. Lam. 2:19


Sadly the Israelites were too stuborn to cry out to God. And so their predicament only got worse.

Jesus cried out:
Even Jesus himself cried out because of desperation. A gruesome destiny awaited him, and he knew that there was no way of escape. He had surrendered his divine powers to his Father, and refused to take matters into his own hand by using supernatural power. So he could do nothing but cry out to God.

"He offered up prayers and petitions
with loud cries and tears
to the one who could save him from death."
Heb. 5:7 :
"[Jesus] was heard because of his reverent submission."

His Father did not ignore his cries, even though he did not offer Jesus a way of escape. The Father wanted him to endure the suffering and death because that was his destiny. And because of that, we have a way of escape from a terrible predicament that is coming - God's judgment - if we cry out for mercy, that is.

Crying out for salvation:
Before anyone will cry out to be saved from their predicament of sin and condemnation, they must admit that they are in desperate need of salvation. The parable of the tax collector in the temple is a good illustration:

"…But the tax collector stood at a distance.
He would not even look up to heaven,
but beat his breast and said,
"God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Lk. 18:13

The man did not say, "Lord, accept me the way I am, for I made some mistakes." He knew that he was a sinner, and faced God's wrath. He needed forgiveness and salvation - and he wanted it - desperately.

This tax collector was so desperate, that he lost any interest in the religious activities. He was not like the Pharisees who were having a joyous time of praise and prayer, thanking the Lord for all their own goodness (and that they weren't like the sinner!).

God regarded the cries of the tax collector as a genuine plea for mercy. A verse in Ezekiel says,

"cry out and wail, son of man…beat your breast." Ez. 21:12

The tax collector did just that. He recognized his desperate condition and turned to the Lord to save him. "Jesus said, 'This man went home justified. '" Lk 18:12-14

The Bible promises: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." This verse is written three times in Scripture (Acts 2:21, Joel 2:28, Rom. 10:13) but the same message occurs numerous more times. Those who cry out for God's mercy always know that they don't deserve it and they can't earn it. But they also know that there is no where else to turn. In humility, they appeal to God for what they desperately want - salvation. God will never turn away anyone who cries out to him for salvation with a genuine heart!

"He hears the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cries and saves them."
Ps. 145:19

Crying out to Daddy:
If we belong to God, we have a spiritual relationship with him as our heavenly Father. And so, at any time we can cry out to him, "Daddy!!! Daddy!!!"

"You received a Spirit of sonship
and by him we cry, "Abba
[Daddy] Father"" Rom. 8:15

We cry out to our Daddy because we crave relationship with him:

"My soul yearns,
even faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God."
Ps. 84:2

We cry out to Daddy when we need understanding:

"May my cry come before you,
O Lord; give me understanding
according to your word."
Ps. 119:169

Crying out in times of trouble:
When things are going well, we easily forget the Lord, and think that we ourselves produced our success. We tend to forget that we are totally dependent on the Lord. So the Lord brings us to a state of desperation by permitting us to experience troubles, or crisis, or Satanic attacks. He wants us to cry out to him when we're in trouble. He says to us,

"Call upon ME in the day of trouble; I will deliver you." Ps. 50:15

God regards the cries of the needy as beautiful expressions of faith in him - like this example of David's cry to God:

"Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help;
be not deaf to my weeping."
Ps. 39:12

God heard David because he had a humble and trusting heart. David said,

"Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress
and he hears my voice."
Ps. 55:17

My enemies will turn back when I call for help." Ps. 56:9
We too can cry out to God when we are afflicted and oppressed by others and have no way of escape:

"He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted." Ps. 9:12
"He will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help."
Ps. 72:12
"

"And will not God bring about justice
for his chosen ones
who cry out to him day and night?

Lk. 18:7


I've cried out to God many times. Some times it was over very simple, seemingly insignificant needs. Here are some examples:

One morning I was frantically running throughout the house looking for my daughter's flute. Her bus would be arriving at any moment - and she would be needing that flute at school. Then I realized that my frantic behaviour was ridiculous. So I cried out to God to please put a picture in my mind of the location of the flute. Immediately I 'saw' the flute in the office. I went there, and sure enough, it was right there. I handed it to my daughter just in time for her to catch the bus.

Another time someone asked me for a certain copy of music. I looked and looked through my many files of music for that particular song but couldn't find it. Then, in desperation, I cried out the Lord to show me where it was. He immediately directed me to the appropriate place.


I was quite excited about God's answers to these rather simple requests. So another time when I couldn't find something I again asked God to show me. That time he didn't show me, so I asked him why not. He replied, "You don't need it yet." That was true. As a result, I was satisfied with the assurance that God had heard my prayer and he would show me where it was when I really needed it (and IF I really needed it). I did find it - just in time, but not before.

Throughout my life I have had far more serious needs, and I can say that God has mercifully answered my countless cries. He did not always give me what I asked for, but instead, he gave me what I really needed. Some times all that I needed was some assurance that he understood and cared about my troubles - and that was sufficient for me.

Refusing to cry out
I'll bet that you know a lot of people who are having troubles in their lives, and yet they refuse to cry out to God. If you ha've suggested that they cry out to God, they may have gritted their teeth and mocked you saying, "What good will that do!" Their pride and unbelief wouldn't let them cry out to God. They refused to trust him.

Sadly, those people will never have peace of mind. They will continue being worried, angry, and uptight. All you can do is watch them wear themselves out while trying to solve their own problems. Perhaps eventually they will cry out to God - when nothing works for them any more.

The cries of the faithful
Dear child of God, your pleas and cries will reach the ears of your Daddy in heaven. He hears you, and he knows what you need even before you ask. He will give you exactly what you need - salvation, vindication, comfort, security, or whatever. Just cry out for it.

"The righteous cry out,
and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles."

Ps. 35:17

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