Wrecked by anguish and terror, on the run and hunted like a criminal by his enemies, King David begins Psalm 55 by unloading his burdens to the Lord:
“Listen to my prayer, O God; don’t hide yourself when I cry to you. Hear me, Lord! Listen to me! For I groan and weep beneath my burden of woe. My enemies shout against me and threaten me with death. They surround me with terror and plot to kill me. Their fury and hatred rise to engulf me. My heart is in anguish within me. Stark fear overpowers me. Trembling and horror overwhelm me. Oh, for wings like a dove, to fly away and rest! I would fly to the far-off deserts and stay there. I would flee to some refuge from all this storm. (1-7)”
I can relate to the last part, when the writer fantasizes about running away from his problems. I think we all wish that at times. Knowing we can’t hide from pain, however, we stand and fight.
As David’s prayer continues, he begins to boldly rise up in faith, KNOWING God will, beyond any doubt, rescue him:
“But I will call upon the Lord to save me—and he WILL. I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he WILL hear and answer. Though the tide of battle runs strongly against me, for so many are fighting me, yet he WILL rescue me. God himself—God from everlasting ages past—WILL answer them! For they refuse to fear him or even honor his commands. (16-19, emphasis mine)”
Note that the answer normally does not come immediately. David said “I will pray MORNING, NOON and NIGHT.” He had to seek help, and then have faith the answer would come…eventually.
After this, he makes a plea for all of us to not only communicate our problems to God, but to claim the answer, in faith. We are not to just HOPE the Lord saves us; we can BE SURE He will!
“Give your burdens to the Lord. He WILL carry them. He WILL NOT permit the godly to slip or fall. He WILL send my enemies to the pit of destruction. Murderers and liars will not live out half their days. But I am trusting you to save me. (22-23)”
So give all your burdens to the Lord, and then thank Him for the answer you KNOW is coming. Let the naysayers mock! Their words are meaningless, useless, a mere “chasing after the wind,” as David’s son, Solomon, stated a generation later.
I know sometimes we feel either God won’t help us, doesn’t care or, perhaps, CAN’T give us the assistance and comfort we so desperately crave. Jeremiah 32:27, though, asks, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind; is there anything too hard for me?”
In Luke 18:27, Jesus said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.”
It’s ok to cry out in anguish to God. It’s ok to share your terrors. He sees your night sweats, your tears and your writhing in pain. He feels your anguish, and hears you crying in the shower.
The agony we suffer can be so intense we don’t even know HOW to pray. I heard the story of a young girl who lost both her parents in the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. A preacher who was there walked up behind here, and noticed she was on one knee, reaching both hands toward the flames and debris, tears streaming down her little cheeks.
Her grief, her fear, her terror were all so great, she could only utter one word:
“Jesus!” she just kept repeating, over and over and over, her young mind not able to form any other words.
It’s ok if you can’t form the words, or if you’ve never prayed before. Check out one of my favorite Bible verses:
“In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. All of our thoughts are known to God. (Romans 8:26-27a, emphasis mine)”
Don’t carry your burdens alone. God already knows your hardships and heartbreak. Remember, it was Jesus Himself who said, “Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. Yes, the teaching that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)”