The Art of Crying Out

A post to encourage putting faith into action during tough times.

Seasons in life can be so painful they leave us speechless. Certainly, devastating losses like the death of a family member, loss of a friendship, a sudden layoff, or firing are all types of pain that can leave us without words. And still, other pain is more complex to name, less identifiable to mark, that seeps in with each passing day of endurance, leaving us to wither into a less vibrant version of ourselves. We lose our voice in the overt and subtle moments of pain in our relationships. And while it's at times replaced by sobs filling our chests and throats, other times, we tend to turn inward. In these seasons, it's as if all we own is silence to respond to the defeat of disappointments, dashed hopes and worst fears realized, and all the while, life goes...on.

Silence can feel like the last stand, but I'd like you to consider it more like a white flag— call it a surrender to the status quo. Surrender to living with less than what belongs to you as a child of God (Ephesians 4:24). The scriptures remind us to be on guard for an enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Your joy, family, expectation, calling and faith are what the enemy comes for. He's successful when we surrender to silence instead of crying out to our Father in heaven.

Silence in our relationships is challenging because it doesn't move things. Often, we end up weaponizing it against ourselves and our loved ones. For example, a couple living with deep and compounding relational wounds feels like their only option not to do more damage is to be silent. But silence without directives and purpose has devastating consequences. Ask the wife, who eventually blows up at her husband because she thought he'd notice and respond with care when she stopped sharing what bothers her. He didn't notice, and now she is lashing out from hurt. Ask the husband who has used silence to avoid conflict and dismisses what he deems as nonissues, finding himself in a mad scramble to save a relationship in crisis. Silence, employed without constructive intentionality, is not a valuable tool for repair.

What are we supposed to do when we feel voiceless? Something in our lives has brought us to our knees, and dealing with it in our strength isn't working. Perhaps you've tried talking, yelling, screaming, and crying, and the disappointment and lack of change make everything around you feel numb and dull. Not feeling is the goal, and silence becomes a fitting response. You start to internalize these words, “No one cares... I should just stop talking... I'll have to figure it out alone....”. All of these are lies and not at all from God. God intimately cares about what you're going through and understands your pain and struggle. Your voice matters to Him. He is affected by your hurt, and you are not alone.

The art of “crying out” sounds artsy and intellectual, but it's actually something raw and unbeautiful born out of discomfort. One of my struggles is not to allow culture to romanticize what the cross represents. Jesus endured the most brutal, torturous, and painful sacrifice for us, dying on the cross in submission to the Father to pay a debt we never could. When the Bible talks about “picking up your cross,” it means not letting what is painful and torturous in our lives derail us from crying out ( as Jesus did), obeying, and submitting to the will of the Father (Matthew 16:24, Matthew 27:46). The will of God doesn't have to be a mystery, either. He wants a relationship and gives us the Word to learn about His character and seek Him. Crying out to the Father is repeatedly and vividly portrayed throughout the Bible. Consider the list of individuals in the Hall of Fame of Faith (Hebrews 11)! Choose any one of them, and you'll see them crying to God and seeking His intervention. Our God is not passive. He responds to our pleas, but we must pick up our cross (choose Him) and voice the cries of our lives, which reflect our faith in Him (Luke 9:23). His Word is alive, so if you're at a loss for words on what to say to pour out your heart, let the scriptures fill your mouth and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you from there (Hebrews 4:12).

If you believe God is above everything, you also believe in His power to change the problem, even your response. Crying out, sharing our deepest emotions, and laying down burdens is the measure of trusting God with the good, the bad, and the ugly. He wants it all. He wants your ugly crying, screaming if need be, as well as moans of pain where words fail. He cares for you. He loves you infinitely and can handle whatever you have to bring. Crying out involves coming to God how you are and being raw about your need for Him when the world tells you you only need yourself. He isn't looking for excellent elocution or you to come up with a solution; He's looking for a heart that trusts Him with everything. This pursuit of God will equip us to tackle situations or give us renewed strength to endure tough seasons (1 Corinthians 10:13). In our silence, we don't ask of God. And though our Father knows our thoughts and needs before we speak them, our relationship with Him is built upon communication. Our prayers are the lifeline of connection, one we utilize to grow close in relationship as followers of Christ. It's hard to grow close to someone you don't talk to and be vulnerable with someone you don't know.

So, if you're experiencing a season of silence around something disappointing or painful, recognize it as a weapon against your interests. Embrace the art of crying out to God. The scriptures witness that those who practice this always emerge victorious. Victory may not always resemble what we imagine, but God's Word says He has good plans for us, which will not harm us, that we are more than conquers through Christ Jesus ( Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:37-39). His Word never returns empty, so when He commands us to cry out, we can be sure there's life on the other side ( Isaiah 55:12). This life may differ from what we expect, but it's a life of victory and hope.

Cry out to the Father when faith feels intangible! This act is faith in action, which pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). There’s nothing to lose. Your heart is in good hands.