Our One Cry Makes a Difference
By Byron PaulusIndelibly etched in my memory are a number of agonizing cries. As a teenager, I will never forget, in particular, the heartbreaking cry of my mother as I watched two army officers approach the back door of our farmhouse to tell our family about the death of my older brother in Vietnam. That piercing cry still echoes in my heart. Have you ever experienced a deep, heart-rending cry? Sometimes our cries are born out of anger—cries at or cries for or cries because of. . . . But there is one cry that goes beyond those kinds of cries. It is a cry up. It’s a vertical cry. It’s the cry of Moses when he asked God to spare the nation of Israel from destruction. Or when the Israelites came together to grieve after the ark of God had been stolen and the nation had lost the glory of God. It is reminiscent of the cry of Psalm 85, when broken hearts looked toward heaven and pleaded, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (v. 6, esv). Or when Isaiah cried with prophetic passion, “Oh, that you would burst forth from the heavens and come down!” (Isa. 64:1, nlt). A vertical cry is not always a corporate cry for a beleaguered nation, a hurting community, a lifeless church, or even a messed-up family. Sometimes it’s a very personal cry erupting from deep spiritual need. And that is where it must begin, in the circle of our own heart. It is a cry like Allison’s story that follows, and thousands more in our nation who cannot stop weeping over the condition of their own troubled soul:
God found me not only broken but completely shattered. I was a truly pathetic mess for years. Rape, thoughts of suicide, pot and alcohol abuse, and self-inflicting harm. I was ashamed of all that and more. I tried my hardest to deal with it on my own. How would my parents be able to face the church if their own daughter wasn’t leaning on God for her problems? My father, a pastor, shouldn’t have a daughter doing those things. I called upon God when He had about 33% of me. Now, I’m all His. I am slowly telling my parents, and without the passion I now have for God, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. I can’t do it alone. I never should have tried. – AllisonNo matter how difficult or hopeless the situation, God is waiting for our cry, our one cry. And this one cry is the cry of the soul that longs for God to come in all His glory.