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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Crying Out to God

I recently stayed at the home of some of my church members. Their baby cried at 3:00 a.m. and again at 6:30 a.m. Parents of newborns may yearn for the time when their child sleeps through the night. But, no longer being in such a position, I just listened. The cry sounded almost like a song calling out to parents, not terribly good listening, but a song nonetheless.

I thought of the babies I'd heard cry in the different places I have lived: Minnesota, where I grew up in humid summers and frozen winters; Haiti, where children are born in mud huts and wear no pants until they're potty trained; Japan, where children are spoiled until the school whip comes down in a life of conformity and regimentation. In every place the babies' cries were similar. Rich or poor, Eastern or Western, the babies all called out the same way to their parents.

Each child grows up speaking a different language and eating different food, going to school or remaining illiterate, working in an office building or hacking plants with a machete, living under a tile roof or straw thatch, riding a car, a train, or a donkey. That person may connect with God, turn away, or never truly know him.

On the day a person dies, he or she will cry out, and that cry may or may not be verbalized. The cry at death is like a child's call to the Heavenly Father, "Carry me." "Save me." Or that cry may be an anxious call into an unknown void.

Our lives appear so different as we live them. We pursue our distinctions, whether they are achievement, wealth, even philanthropy. Then at the end of life, we become more similar again, the way we were as babies. How we cry out at the end of life will depend on how much we desired our Heavenly Father all the years in between. Blessed are those described by Psalm 84:2, "My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God."

Connecting with God is the one thing that matters. Beyond that I wonder if in God's eyes the lives we live are not so different. Perhaps whether we live in wealth, in poverty, or in a totally different culture, our earthly life is secondary. Perhaps to him our hardships and successes don't matter so much. I suspect that, like a parent, God longs to hear us call out to him long after we're babies. He recognizes every voice and feels the beat of every heart. He longs to hear us call and never stop until our dying day.

How is your voice doing?

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. Psalm 27:4-6, NIV

"Lord, young or old, I am your child. I choose to cry out to you above all other hopes or powers, to call in faith and expectation. May my call to you be like a song in your ears ..."

Copyright © 2013 Peter Lundell. Used by permission.

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