Have you ever cried out to God in anguish? This photo by my cousin Douglas F. Frank from the Oregon coast resembles a creature crying out, like a howling dog. Our dog Misty used to lift her head up and howl at fire engines running by the house. Beyond an instinctual baying, I think this can be in us as grief or deep pain being expressed.
“My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3). This is David crying out with all he was to God for relief from his enemies. As he has cried out for an answer in Psalm 6, He is continuing his lament in Psalm 4 saying, “Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.” It is numbered with his penitential psalms, bold and unremitting, seeking relief as he wrestles with God. “Turn an, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 6:4). He knows that God is loving and powerful, yet, “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak because of my foes” (vs. 6-7). What a wrenching and painful, grief stricken and groaning sorrow.
This is real grief in the throws of its overwhelming pain. It overcomes body, mind and spirit. “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalm 32:3). David grieved his sins and the anguish it caused him. There were consequences to sin, especially when un-confessed as his were for a year. Jeremiah groaned that his enemies wore heavily on him without requiting. Paul tells readers, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies ” (Romans 8:22-23). We as Christians are groaning for Christ to return to redeem us from this dark and cruel world.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26). This is wonderful news that we have a God whose Spirit is bringing our pain and grief to God’s throne. He cares and intercedes for us that we might receive help and refuge in times of trouble as Psalm 46 tells us. He hears and responds to our cries. “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Our God is always present and comforting His people, so take your anxieties to Him because He cares for you.