“In my distress, I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help…”
David had been on the run from Saul for a long time. There were many times he was in distress, but he never gave up. He never turned his back on God. He never stopped praising Him and even in his darkest moments, he still trusted the Lord. On the day he was rescued by the Lord, he sang Psalm 18 as a song of praise for delivering him from all his enemies and the hand of Saul. We may not be running from a physical enemy, but we do have a spiritual enemy that would like to destroy us. God invites us to call out to Him; to cry to Him for help.
The enemy would like nothing more than to destroy us, to convince us it’s not worth praying any more, to keep us down and discouraged, and to get us to believe a lie about our prodigals. So we can’t let him win. Because God says, “Call on me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver you, and you will honor me (Psalm 50:15).” That’s what David did and that’s what we can do. In Psalm 91:14-15, God says, “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.” Do you see it? God is inviting us to call on His name. He is inviting us to cry out to Him. This is audible and desperate and honest. It is coming from our hearts; our emotions. This is a prayer that God hears and answers. He delivers us from our trouble…maybe not immediately, but in His time, He will.
David knew he had been anointed to be Israel’s next king, so he had every reason to believe God would rescue him eventually. But at times, he cried out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever (Psalm 13:1)?” Do you hear the anguish and the frustration? When our emotions are high, we need to cry out to God. He knows it is hard and that we don’t see the big picture like he does. But He is a good parent and doesn’t give in when He knows He has something better. And His plans are always good.
So it is absolutely okay to cry out to the Lord; to call on His name. It is good to be honest and heartfelt. It is also good to glean from Scripture and to listen to what He says to us. It is right to cry out and then refocus back on God. He heard our cry and we have to rest in His unfailing love. David began with, “How long, O Lord?” and ended with, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” Can you hear the difference in his tone? He went from despair to delight. We can only do this if we trust the Almighty God to do what He says He will do and leave the rest in His hands. But do not skip the first part of crying out, thinking it’s somehow wrong or unspiritual, or displeasing to God. Not at all. Just don’t stay there.
Calling on the name of the Lord is a way of praying. It is generally audible, maybe even loud, and may include tears. It is honest and emotional. It involves more than just words…it involves our emotions. It is often accompanied with “crying out to the Lord” when we are calling on the Lord in times of trouble. But calling on the Lord can also include repentance (Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13), dependence and worship/service (Zephaniah 3:9), and rejoicing and praise (Psalm 105:1). There is something that happens when we call on His name.