I will never forget the first time my prospective husband met my parents. He and I met at the beginning of my freshman year of college. Courtship was going very well, so I decided to bring him home to meet my family. That’s when he got the full picture of what he was getting into. We stepped inside the door and I yelled at the top of my lungs, “I’M HOOOOMME!!” I noticed him flinching, but I thought nothing of it. Then my mother responded full volume from upstairs: “I’LL BE DOWN IN A MINUTE!” and my dad hollered up from the basement, “BE RIGHT THERE!” I think the poor boy’s ears were bleeding. He looked at me and said, “Oh, good Lord. I’m dating the LOUD family.” Yup.
Being loud and articulate was how I was raised. There are times when we have to be loud in order to accomplish something that “quiet” can’t do. The writer of Psalm 77 agrees:
Psalm 77 (Common English Bible)
I cry out loud to God—
out loud to God so that he can hear me!
2 During the day when I’m in trouble I look for my Lord.
At night my hands are still outstretched and don’t grow numb;
my whole being refuses to be comforted.
3 I remember God and I moan.
I complain, and my spirit grows tired. Selah
We raise our voices because we want to the heard. But as I read this, I wonder: do we ever really need to be loud with God?
It is obvious that the psalmist is in some kind of deep distress. He extends his arms in prayer and supplication night after night. The cause of his anguish is not known, but it is bad enough to have kept him awake at night and eventually rendered him speechless:
4 You’ve kept my eyelids from closing.
I’m so upset I can’t even speak.
5 I think about days long past;
I remember years that seem an eternity in the past.
6 I meditate with my heart at night;
I complain, and my spirit keeps searching:
In his rumination, he began to question everything he knew and understood about God. This is not uncommon when the answers to our prayers are not coming as fast as we would like. Have you ever felt that way? Do you ever wonder “when will this torment end?”
7 “Will my Lord reject me forever?
Will he never be pleased again?
8 Has his faithful love come to a complete end?
Is his promise over for future generations?
9 Has God forgotten how to be gracious?
Has he angrily stopped up his compassion?” Selah
10 It’s my misfortune, I thought,
that the strong hand of the Most High is different now.
Fortunately for us, the psalmist finds a way out.
11 But I will remember the Lord’s deeds;
yes, I will remember your wondrous acts from times long past.
12 I will meditate on all your works;
I will ponder your deeds.
13 God, your way is holiness!
Who is as great a god as you, God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have demonstrated your strength among all peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people;
redeemed the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
And with the memories of all the great things God had done for Israel, he recalled God’s strength and his mighty arm. He recalled the great miracle of the parting of the Red Sea and how God delivered Moses, Aaron, and the entire nation:
16 The waters saw you, God—
the waters saw you and reeled!
Even the deep depths shook!
17 The clouds poured water,
the skies cracked thunder;
your arrows were flying all around!
18 The crash of your thunder was in the swirling storm;
lightning lit up the whole world;
the earth shook and quaked.
19 Your way went straight through the sea;
your pathways went right through the mighty waters.
But your footprints left no trace!
20 You led your people like sheep
under the care of Moses and Aaron.
So, here’s what I think. When you are in deep trouble, get loud. Go ahead and yell. Beat your fists on your chest. Weep and wail away until it’s out of your system.
If you still feel as though God has abandoned you, stop yelling and remember God’s goodness. Make a list of God’s miracles. Will any of this change God? Nope. But when you remember God’s unlimited power and strength by making an inventory of what God has done, you will be changed.
And that makes all the difference.