Cry Out To God In Times Of Trouble

I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! Psalm 77:1

I’ve experienced times when praying to the Lord that seemed like my prayers bounced off the ceiling. Maybe you have had times like that as well.

The author of Psalm 77 indicated he needed the Lord’s attention when he said, “I cry out to God.” His tone suggested a desperate attempt for God to hear him.

When he said, “I shout,” let’s clarify that he wasn’t shouting at God. We often raise our voices in our excitement, hoping to get someone’s undivided attention.

He, of course, didn’t need to raise his voice to capture the Lord’s attention. Neither does God suffer in any way from a lack of hearing. The Psalmist revealed his dilemma in the next verse.

When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. Psalm 77:2

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We don’t know what troubled Asaph, the author of this Psalm when he wrote these words. But what he wrote can benefit us when we face times of trouble or despair.

Just because we view something as “deep trouble” doesn’t mean God views it the same way. The Lord has a handle on everything, and nothing overwhelms Him.

When we cry out to God, do we focus on Him and not our troubles? Or do we focus on our troubles and hope God gets on the wagon with us?

I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude Psalm 77:3

cry out to God

“Interlude”

With what plagued the Psalmist, his attitude continued as if God couldn’t be found. But he ended the verse with a significant word: Interlude. Other Bible translations use the word Selah.

Some scholars view it as a musical term, while others feel it indicates a pause in the text. I think a pause makes sense for the purposes of reading the biblical text.

The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition says, Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! In the midst of troubles and trials, when we think God doesn’t exist, pause and calmly think of that!

The next verse shows us that pausing for a moment didn’t change the attitude of the Psalmist. In fact, his attitude moved from not finding God to blaming Him.

You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! Psalm 77:4

Then he reverted to the “good old days.” You know, things today aren’t like they used to be! As much as we try to relive them, we can’t. We serve a God who moves forward, not backward.

I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Psalm 77:5-6

I remember the days of the past. I got saved during the Jesus Movement in the early 70s and I loved those days. Now, because God hasn’t changed, I love our present days as well.

As he continued to pen his thoughts in this Psalm, the Psalmist didn’t view things that way. So, he didn’t cry out to God anymore; instead, he began to question Him.

hear from God and cry out

Questioning God

  • Has the Lord rejected me forever?
  • Will he never again be kind to me?
  • Is his unfailing love gone forever?
  • Have his promises permanently failed?
  • Has God forgotten to be gracious?
  • Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Psalm 77:7-9

How often do people today, in their desperate circumstances, resort to similar questions posed by the Psalmist? The Bible, however, has answers for each of these concerns.

  • The Lord will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession. Psalm 94:14
  • When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us. Titus 3:4
  • You show unfailing love to your anointed, . . . forever. Psalm 18:50
  • For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” 2 Corinthian 1:20
  • So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. . . . we will find grace to help us when we need it. Hebrews 4:16
  • But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Psalm 88:15

The Psalmist ended verse nine with another “Interlude.” This time he did pause, and calmly think of that! His attitude changed. Instead of wallowing in his troubles, he focused on God.

But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. Psalm 77:11-12

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Don’t Cry to God, Cry Out to Him

His memory began to kick into high gear. Like the Psalmist, we must turn our thoughts away from our troubles. Then, center them on the One who can change our circumstances.

No matter what mood our surroundings put us in, God is still God. The One who met your needs the last time will meet your needs again this time.

As I look at the rest of this chapter, the Psalmist reminded himself of the wonder and glory of the Lord. At this point in his recollection, he didn’t cry to God but cried out to Him.

But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude Psalm 77:11-13

Did you notice he added one more phrase of, “pause, and calmly think of that!”? After he said this final interlude, His thought process expanded well beyond himself.

He recalled how God delivered his entire nation from captivity. Maybe we should cry out to God before calamity strikes. Yes, cry out to Him because He is God!

A Cry Out to God

Oh God, sometimes our circumstances blind us when we cry out to you. Instead of trusting you by faith, we tend to blame you. Forgive us for fixing our focus in the wrong direction.

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