"My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." (Psalm 84:2)
Crying is a topic that's been on my mind more often than not these days. When you have a newborn baby in the house, that comes with the territory.
Babies aren't born with any ability to communicate beyond crying. It's all they know how to do, and they do it prodigiously -- crying to signal hunger, or a messy diaper, or the need to be held, or even just over-stimulation. Everybody likes to laugh at new parents who tear their hair out trying to figure out what the squirt is crying over at any given point, until you are the new parents, and you gain a wholesale appreciation of what your mother and father went through.
My son came out of the womb with a Ph.D. in crying; he doesn't do it halfway, he takes it to a professional level. The cries start with grudging, half-hearted noises... sort of a car revving up the engine. Then there's the long, low wail... "pay attention to me!" This is followed by a symphony of shrieks and noises of extreme displeasure, one after another with only a quick breath in between. If he really gets worked up, he can turn his face red and rattle the ceiling with cries that are designed to reach into my spinal column and jar it severely.
So, I think about crying (not crying myself, although at times that is an attractive option), but the basic need behind a cry. We take for granted all of the times that the Bible tells us about so-and-so "crying out" to God: the Hebrews in Egypt crying out for freedom... the Israelites crying out for victory over the Philistines... Job crying out in agony... the Psalmist crying his heart out... unrepentant sinners crying out because of the consequences of their actions... the mother crying out to Jesus to save her daughter from demon possession... even Christ himself crying out on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
They cry to God because of a strong need, a need to be heard, to be helped, to be saved, to be comforted. And if their hearts are repentant, God responds -- He hears us (Exodus 22:23), He brings justice (Luke 18:7), He consoles (Luke 7:13), He fulfills our purpose (Psalm 57:2), He grants us understanding (Proverbs 2:3)... and He delivers us (Isaiah 19:20).
There's something basically honest in a cry. It can't be faked, not when it comes from the heart. It says, "I need! I need!" But it also says, "Only you can give me this, and I put my trust in you for it!" When we cry out to Jesus, we are excluding other gods, other rescuers, other sources of hope. We put our chips all into one basket, belief without compromise. Only Jesus can hear our cry and answer it fully.
Right now, many desperate people in our country are crying out for rescue and deliverance, from finances and terrorism and whatnot. Like the Israelites once did, the country is looking to our own leaders to answer their cry, but that puts hope in a faulty proposition. God will leave us to our mistaken hope, if we choose it -- but if we ever get sick of disappointment, then we may fall to our knees, lift our heads up, and cry out, "Save me!" to the only one who truly can.
My son cries because he needs me and his mother -- he cannot have it any other way. Why should our attitude toward God be any different?