By Tammy Preston • 30 /03 /22 •
I have always gained great comfort from the Psalmists who wrote so many psalms beginning with a plea for help as they cry out to God:
Ps 57:1 Be good to me, God - and now! I’ve run to you for dear life. I’m hiding out under your wings until the hurricane blows over.
Ps 119:105-112. Everything’s falling apart on me, God, put me back together again with your word.
Ps 64: 1 “Listen and help, O God. I am reduced to a whine and a whimper, obsessed with feeling of doomsday”
Ps 86:1-2 Bend an ear, God: answer me. I’m one miserable wretch! Keep me safe – haven’t I lived a good life? Help your servant -I’m depending on you!
Ps 102:1-2 God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries. Don’t turn your back on me just when I need you so desperately. Pay attention! This is the cry for help! And hurry – this can’t wait.
Ps 130:1-2. Help, God – the bottom has fallen out of my life! Master, hear my cry for help! Iisten hard! Open your ears! Listen to my cries for mercy.
Ps 142:1-2 I cry out loudly to God, loudly I plead with God for mercy. I spill out all my complaints before him, and spell out my troubles in details.
At first, I would keep reading them and take solace in that fact that I plead the same thing over and over again. Every day is a new challenge to get back up and try again. But in any given day that I feel like I am stronger and can move forward, something happens and pushes me back 2 or 3 steps again. I would feel like a failure over and over again, wondering will I ever get there? I took comfort in the fact that many of the Psalms begin with a cry out for help, and it is not always a whimper, it is often a demand using words like “help”, “listen”, “pay attention”, “listen hard”, “plead”, “open your ears”. They are often said with exclamation marks after them that feel very demanding and desperate. I was always taught to pray with respect and to begin with ‘thank you’ and “praise you God for…”. I know it is the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray and I want to be respectful indeed, but if I am honest I do find joy in the Psalmist’s cries of desperation. It is real and raw and helps me feel less like a failure and more like a normal mortal, who is simply struggling.