Crying . . .

You know that feeling you get when you read something that seems to be speaking straight to you or about you? Yeah, this:

‘Curiously, he felt too depressed to cry. Too hurt. It felt as if she’d taken the part of him that cried… Crying adds something: crying is you, plus tears. But the feeling Colin had was some horrible opposite of crying. It was you, minus something. He kept thinking about one word – forever – and felt the burning ache just beneath his rib cage.’

– John Green, An Abundance of Katherines 

xx zs

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‘Walking With God Through Pain And Suffering’, by Timothy Keller

‘We are all sufferers, or we will be. But not all of us are currently in an experience of deep pain and grief. Those who are not feeling it, but are seeing it in others, will have a host of philosophical, social, psychological, and moral questions about it. On the other hand, those who are in the grip of pain and difficulty now cannot treat it as a philosophical issue. Speaking to the questions of the non sufferer as well as to the struggles of the sufferer in one book is not a simple task. While the afflicted person may cry out using philosophical questions – “Why do you allow such things, God?” – the real concern is personal survival. How can you survive it? How can you get through without loosing the best parts of yourself? To speak in a detached philosophical manner to an actual sufferer is cruel. And yet the experience of pain leads almost inevitably to “big questions” about God and the nature of things that cannot be ignored.’

 

xx zs

Psalm 31 . . .

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In you, LORD, I have taken refuge;

let me never be put to shame;

deliver me in your righteousness.

Turn your ear to me,

come quickly to my rescue;

be my rock of refuge,

a strong fortress to save me.

Since you are my rock and my fortress,

for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,

for you are my refuge.

Into your hands I commit my spirit’

deliver me, LORD, my faithful God.

 

I hate those who cling to worthless idols;

as for me, I trust in the LORD.

I will be glad and rejoice in your love,

for you saw my affliction

and knew the anguish of my soul.

You have not given me into the hands of the enemy

but have set my feet in a spacious place.

 

Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress;

my eyes grow weak with sorrow,

my soul and body with grief.

My life is consumed by anguish

and my years by groaning;

my strength fails because of my affliction, 

and my bones grow weak.

Because of all my enemies,

I am the utter contempt of my neighbours

and an object of dread to my closest friends – 

those who see me on the street flee from me.

I am forgotten as though I were dead;

I have become broken like pottery.

For I hear many whispering,

“Terror on every side!”

They conspire against me

and plot to take my life.

 

But I trust in you, LORD;

I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hands;

deliver me from the hands of my enemies,

from those who pursue me. 

Let your face shine on your servant;

save me in your unfailing love.

Let me not be put to shame, LORD,

for I have cried out to you;

but let the wicked be put to shame

and be silent in the realm of the dead.

Let their lying lips be silenced,

for with pride and contempt

they speak arrogantly against the righteous. 

 

How abundant are the good things

that you have stored up for those who fear you, 

that you bestow in the sight of all,

on those who take refuge in you.

In the shelter of your presence you hide them

from all human intrigues;

you keep them safe in your dwelling

from accusing tongues. 

 

Praise be to the LORD,

for he showed me the wonders of his love

when I was in a city under siege.

In my alarm I said,

“I am cut off from your sight!”

Yet you heard my cry for mercy

when I called to you for help.

 

Love the LORD, all his faithful people!

The LORD preserves those who are true to him,

but the proud he pays back in full.

Be strong and take heart, 

all you who hope in the LORD.

 

I love that there are Psalms like this one in the Bible – Psalms that show it is ok to cry out to God in despair.

xx zs