March 21, 2009


I think we all, at one time or another (or all the time), try too hard to be strong. We know we're weak, we know too well how we've failed, we're pretty sure we're not alone in our state of brokenness, but we would still like to at least appear strong. Okay, I do. I like to be in control. When I can't control my surroundings, I like to keep my own emotions under wraps. I do my best not to lose my cool and I don't often cry, not because I am "above" it, but because I'm afraid of not being perceived as strong.

We all cry sometimes. There are different reasons, durations, locations, and surroundings, but the tears do fall, our hearts ache, we need a safe place, we need grace.

2 Samuel 22:7 "In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears."

One of my favourite stories in the bible is of the Prodigal Son, in Luke 15. We're at the part of the story (verse 18) where the son's walking down the road towards the house he abandoned years earlier, planning how he'll tell his dad just how bad he messed up, spending all that money and shaming the family. He's planning on asking to live and work among his father's servants. Meanwhile, way down the road, his dad, who's been watching for him (for years, apparently), is RUNNING towards him. He can't wait to welcome him home. He's been waiting for a sign that his son has turned back towards him. The father reaches him and immediately wraps him with his finest robe and has a feast prepared for his 'welcome home' party. The son had only to come back, and the welcome his father had for him was far greater than he could ever have imagined.

Okay, we don't just cry when we've done something wrong, sometimes it's because someone has hurt us. Other times we may be tired of waiting, we find ourselves in another frustrating circumstance, anxiety, depression, fear, reservation, loss....

We know when it's time to cry out. You can't hold it in any longer. Right now? God's listening. He's waiting. He's watching for you to walk back down the road. He'll meet you were you are. He's faithful.

Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry"

This song is so beautiful. The history and meaning behind the names we can use to cry to God help paint a picture of God's faithfulness and attributes. Reminds me of who's in control of things when I lose control.

El Shaddai
The name then refers to the pre-Mosaic patriarchal understanding of deity as "God who is sufficient." God is sufficient, that is, to supply all of one's needs, and therefore by derivation "almighty". root meaning - "Almighty". Name of God used by Abraham, Jacob and Isaac. Connected to the notion of God's fertility, provision and blessings of the human race. Also, connected to Hebrew word Dai meaning "sufficient, enough, sufficiency".

Adonai - "my lord"
Psalm 3:4 "To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah"
NOTE: Selah means something like "stop and listen". I think sometimes we cry and then hurry back into our lives - make sure things stay 'normal'. Next time you cry out to God, stop and listen.God responds when we cry to Him. He hears the cries of the weak. Those who surrender their pride and bow before the heavenly throne of grace.

Jesus Christ
When I think of Jesus in the context of crying, I think of 2 different stories. The first is when Jesus mourns the death of Lazarus, his friend, in John chapter 11. To me, this story is a symbol of the reality of Jesus' suffering as a human being on the earth. The verb in the greek is actually not "wept" but "burst into tears". He lost his cool. A whole bunch of people were standing around grieving and he joined in. He wasn't okay. He knew real suffering. I am comforted by a God who knows suffering.The second story is when Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane when He if there's a chance that "this cup" (the task of dying on the cross for my sins) be removed from him - and he then CHOSES suffering to free me from mine. In Jesus is a beautiful picture of "crying out" to God.

Abba, Father - "daddy"
Romans 8:15&16 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship (or adoption). And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
I like the idea of a perfect world where all dads love sacrificially in a way that their children are certain that they are wholly loved, respected, safe and completely provided for. That's our heavenly dad. For all our needs, when we cry out, like the father of the prodigal son, He welcomes us home.

WE CRY OUT - Gateway Worship

Father of Life, seated on your throne of grace
It's only by Your mercy we are saved
Lord, you have said, if we call upon Your Name
We and our families will be saved

So we cry out Your name
El shaddai, God of grace
Lord Most High, Jesus Christ
We rely on your grace
Adonai, crowned in praise
Lord Most High, Jesus Christ

Father of Love, never failing to forgive
Each moment is a gift from You to live
We're only here to tell the world about your grace
Until the day you take us all away

We will cry out Your name
El shaddai, God of grace
Lord Most High, Jesus Christ
We rely on your grace
Adonai, crowned in praise
Lord Most High, Jesus Christ

Abba, Father. Adonai, El Shaddai.

Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.