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Believers can cry out to God in the midst of pain, prof says

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Many people are experiencing some type of pain in their lives but are afraid to talk to God about it, said William Cutrer, associate professor of Christian ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
Preaching from Psalm 13 at Southern Seminary, Cutrer said David was “clearly in great anguish” when the psalm was written and that he cried out to God out of that pain. “This message is for those of us who are hurting and for those of us who minister to those who are hurting,” Cutrer said. “This passage was such a blessing for me. It asks the big question — can you tell God what you really feel?
“There are a lot of people out there who are hurting, a lot of people in pain. And yet they are afraid to tell God about it,” Cutrer said in his chapel message Nov. 4. Psalm 13 begins with a sense of desperation, Cutrer said. “David feels forgotten, he feels like God has turned his face away. His ache and anguish extend all the way to his soul. He is hurting and he cries out, ‘How long, Lord?'”
Had God truly forgotten David, his beloved child? Cutrer asked. “I don’t think so, but David certainly felt that way. And I don’t know about you,” Cutrer continued, “but I have felt that way at times.”
David moves then from the problem to a prayer and from a sense of desperation to expectation as the psalm progresses, Cutrer said. “In verse three, we see the first glimmer of hope. He is crying out, he is praying, ‘Consider, look, answer me, Lord.'”
David prays for God to enlighten his eyes. “If you have ever seen someone who is chronically ill … or someone who is deeply depressed … or someone in a spiritually dark time, that sparkle is gone from their eyes,” Cutrer observed. “There is a hollowness, a depth of pain that you can see. David prays for God to bring light to the darkness.
“Darkness is not always a bad thing,” Cutrer noted. “There are some things that can only be learned and appreciated in the darkness. But that darkness can be quite scary.”
The psalm ends with exaltation as David moves from “a heart that has been sorrowing all the day to a heart that is rejoicing in God’s salvation, in God’s deliverance,” Cutrer said. “The light comes on, things change. We turn to celebration, exaltation, jubilation.”
In verse five, David said he had trusted in the Lord’s lovingkindness. “Sometimes we think the only problems we can trust God with are the little ones and that we might have a problem too big for God to handle, so we are going to have to handle it ourselves,” Cutrer said. “But trust means to put the whole weight of your confidence on or to lean on, and David has thrown his full weight on the lovingkindness of the Lord. What have you thrown the full weight of your confidence upon?
“God has dealt with David in grace, and David has responded to him in faith. The result is a heart that rejoices,” Cutrer said. “This kind of joy is the settled certainty that comes from accepting that God is God and that his plan is best. Nothing happens to you as his child that has not come through the grid of his lovingkindness.
Cutrer said David’s psalm is one example of how to call out and find God in the midst of darkness. He also cited several New Testament examples of Jesus praying from the psalms.
“Now we as children of the King have the psalms for us,” Cutrer said. “No matter how deep the darkness is … let me encourage you to cry out to God. Call out to him and use Psalms if you can.”

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  • Macon Fritsch