I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted.
The phone call. The knock on the door. The doctor’s words. The death pronouncement. Many of us can remember times in our lives when we received news that we immediately knew would change the course of our future. Waves of dread ran through our bodies, and we could barely stand. “Oh, God!”
For followers of Christ, calling out to our God—the source of our life and strength and hope—is a natural response to shock, fear, disbelief, and grief. Sometimes “Oh, God!” is all we can say as our mind races and our world blurs. It’s our 911 call to the God of the universe.
One of the wonderful things about the Psalms is that, by example, we are granted permission to cry out to God in desperation. It’s human to fear death when we’re diagnosed with cancer. And it’s human to want to die when we lose a precious child or spouse. God’s people are not required to be stoic in difficult times. Instead, we are invited to collapse into the arms of God, who will hold us tightly, catch our tears, and carry us through whatever lies ahead.
The writer of this psalm does not rush to resolution but lingers in the distress and sleeplessness of overwhelming grief. He merely asks God to help and to hear. And that’s more than enough.
Sometimes life hits us with such hard blows that we can barely breathe. Thank God that when we feel overwhelmed with fear or grief, he hears our cries and comes near to us.