As I am preparing to teach a class on Psalms later this summer, I was struck this morning by the opening stanza of Psalm 77.
(1) I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. (2) In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. (3) When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah
In the remainder of the psalm, the psalmist compares his current trouble with God’s gracious deliverances in the past, providing a ground for why he calls out to God even now. However, in this opening stanza, I was struck by the tenacity with which the psalmist cries out.
The cry to God is “aloud,” not just in his inner being (v. 1). In fact, it is so “aloud” that he repeats that phrase (‘aloud to God’) for emphatic effect. When trouble arises, he “seeks” the Lord during the day (v. 2a), and at night, his hands are stretched out to the Lord (v. 2b). His soul “refuses to be comforted” (v. 2c) because he is tenaciously crying out to God for help. If his soul is not yet comforted, it must mean that God has not yet answered. We probably shouldn’t think that his soul refuses to be comforted because he doesn’t want to be comforted. Rather, his soul’s discomfort is another way of expressing his tenacious cry to God. “My soul cannot be comforted in this situation… therefore, I continue to cry out to God with outstretched hands that do not grow weary” (v. 2b).
The psalmist’s resolve to cry out to God seems unwavering and tenacious as it is presented here. As we bring this attitude forward to our day, I wonder how may of us cry out to God with this kind of vigor when we face various trials and difficulties? I wonder how many of us cry out to God with this kind of vigor alongside our friends who are suffering? How many of us raise up the voice of desperation until the Lord answers? Indeed, in our “have-it-now” culture, we are far too easily defeated by our fleeting circumstances. The psalmist teaches us (by example) to cry out to God unceasingly and with great vigor.
How long will you cry out to God? Hours? Months? Years?!?! We cannot go so far as to say that God’s answers are tied to the tenacity of our prayers. However, there is something remarkably faith-filled about the continual cry of desperation to the only God and his Son Jesus Christ who provide mercy and grace in time of need (Heb 4:16). Consider how you can fortify your prayers with tenacity. Consider how you can rally alongside suffering saints and cry out to God with outstretched hands that do not grow weary. How long will you cry out?
(Photo credit: https://www.hopechannel.com/learn/teach-me-to-pray)