“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” – Psalms 40:1 NIV
Like so many people I am sure, I have felt despair in my life. Desperation can take many forms. Loneliness, hopelessness, sadness, shame. Desperation can also cause us to react in many different ways. Lashing out, giving up, or just plain refusing to get out of bed. Crying out is, to me, one of the more interesting and less talked about reactions to the despair that can find its way into our lives. On its face it sounds like a lot of the others. It has tones of anger, sadness, and giving up. But unlike the others, crying out can have somewhat more positive connotations as well. As desperate as it sounds, it maintains an aura of hope. We cry out because we still have hope that someone will hear our cry and come to our rescue. Or at the very least, hear us and acknowledge us. Being heard is the key, we all just want to be heard. Not necessarily helped, or saved, or rescued, but heard. As I write this, I am in the process of training to take calls on the national suicide hotline, 988. I am learning that callers pick up the phone and reach out for as many different reasons as there are people in this world. But there is one common theme that seems to unite them all. They, like most of us, just want to be heard. And so much of the training is around learning how to do more than listen; we are learning how to hear. We are learning how to hear in an active way, engaging the speaker with empathy and encouragement and doing our best to let them know that we are there to help. It is then, once someone feels heard, that they can begin the process of empowering themselves to heal.
Waiting patiently can absolutely be the hardest part. Let’s face it, in this day and age waiting for an Amazon package to arrive or waiting for your order at a Five Guys has become hard enough. Waiting for something that you are desperate for, crying out for, can be excruciating. But I take some comfort that Psalm 40 tells us that if we can wait patiently, he will turn to us as long as we cry out for him in our desperation.
And don’t worry about showing God all the emotions that desperation can evoke. Even in anger, while you might be cursing Him, at least you’re talking to him. And that’s a great first step.
What a great volunteer you will make.