Thursday, January 20, 2005

Crying Out

"At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?'--which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'" Mark 15:33-34


On Wednesday nights this quarter I'm in a class at church that is studying how to pray. We're reading various prayers of the New Testament and dissecting them to discover who prayed, why they prayed, what they prayed about, the circumstances behind the prayer, etc. As we carefully analyze the various nuances of each prayer, we also discuss how this particular prayer can offer insight for our own lives.

Last night we studied several prayers in Mark and Luke, some uttered by Jesus, others offered up by the apostles or other Biblical figures. We spent a great deal of discussion on one prayer in particular, the prayer of Jesus on the cross. We focused not only on what He said, but also on the fact that He said in a loud voice, and we wondered aloud at the significance of that phrase--"in a loud voice"--being included in the text. We came up with a variety of reasons--for instance, part of the agony of crucifixion is the extreme difficulty in breathing, so maybe Jesus being able to call out loudly was to demonstrate God's power in Him. This is just one of the ideas that we had as we discussed the passage last night.

As I thought about it later, another potential reason came to me. I think there is a great deal of significance in Jesus asking His Father why He was being abandoned, and asking it not in a quiet whisper but in a loud voice where others could hear Him.

I don't know about you, but there have been times when I've felt forsaken by God. Times when I've felt left alone in a corner, ignored by God. Thankfully, those times are few and far between, but I imagine it's something we all go through at one time or another. Maybe Jesus' bold crying out to God tells us it's okay to feel forsaken by God. Maybe it gives us permission to question God, not in an embarrassed, shameful way, but in a pleading, childlike way.

Maybe someone at the foot of the cross who heard Jesus' prayer had uttered those same thoughts in their hearts at one time or another. Perhaps Jesus became a little more human to someone when they heard Him crying out.

Don't be ashamed or afraid to approach God boldly in prayer, to cry out to Him in hurt and loss and longing as Jesus did.


1 comment:

Rhonda said...

Lisa,

I appreciate what you said about not being afraid to approach God boldy in prayer, to cry out to Him. When I think of someone who cried out to God I also think of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10...Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.

Jabez wanted badly for God to bless him and he was not afraid to cry out to God...and God heard him.

Psalms speaks of crying out to God...

Psalm 5:2 - Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.

Psalm 18:6 - In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

Psalm 34:15 - The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry

Psalm 40:1 - I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

Apparently there is something about a cry. In this case, I think of Sebastien. If he is in another room and I hear him cry out, I am very attentive to his voice...to his cry. I immediately want to know why he is crying? Is he hurt? Does he need help? What can I do to help him? When he is in another room and I hear him talking to someone, I hear what he is saying but it does not grab my attention like his cry does.

God always hears all of our prayers, but when we cry out to Him, it is a deep soul bearing out pouring of our hearts to God. Like with any parent, maybe the cries of His children grabs His attention.

Thank you for sharing this!!