Turn Toward

“Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!” (Psalm 55:1)

Whining rarely benefits the one enduring the gripe or the complainer intent on unloading her prevailing mediocre circumstances. Who really even cares when the boss is unjust, the landlord greedy, or the neighbor’s piercing accusation slices like a wretched razor blade?

God does. David adamantly insists that we recognize this trait about the Almighty in almost every stanza of his laments recorded in the Psalms. All by itself, Psalm 55 is a sacred script to review each time the weight presses against your chest: “Attend to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaint…my heart is in anguish within me…I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”

Our Father in Heaven longs for us to turn toward him with the expectation of a child barreling in the direction of his parent’s protective embrace. The parent who whispers encouragement into the youngster’s ear or the teenager’s troubled heart or the young couple’s cluttered world beautifully imitates the perfect parenting of God himself.

“But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. Evening, morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage” (Psalm 55:16-­‐18). Time and again, we are directed to bring our complaints to him, knowing he not only listens to our aching words but is also fully capable of pulling us through the skirmish. My God not only hears me out, but also helps me out as well; he can do no less.

Near the end of the psalm, we see a perfect remedy: “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you….” We are responsible to cast it all – the bulky boulders too cumbersome to cradle and the slight pebbles, painful and unnerving.

He is the one in charge of all the necessary sustaining.

When faced with insurmountable odds or merely irritating infractions, cold sweat and sweaty palms in abundance, point your furrowed brow and throbbing temples squarely in the direction of the Counselor who has ears to hear, arms to heal, and a heart of extraordinary love and compassion.

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