Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Persistence in Crying Out

Season: Crying Out

Leslie Basham: Sometimes we need to cry out to God and keep crying out. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You see, to us a week of crying out seems like a long time, not to speak of a month or a year or years, maybe even decades, in say a troubled marriage crying out to the Lord, and yet God doesn't change that husband's heart. God doesn't change that situation. And to us, that seems like an eternity.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, June 24th. We've been in a series called Crying Out. God comes to our rescue when we cry out to Him in humility and desperation. But what if it seems like He's not coming to our rescue? Nancy will address that today.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We've been talking all this week about what I think is one of the most important and powerful principles in all of God's Word. That is the principle of crying out to the Lord, calling on the name of the Lord. We've been looking at Psalm chapter 50 verse 15 which says: "Call upon me in the day of trouble." God says, "I will deliver you and you shall glorify me."

That's a promise; it has a condition. The condition is: when you're in trouble, if you'll call upon Me, then I will hear you; I will deliver you. Then the end result is that out of our thankful, delivered hearts we will give praise to God, and He will be glorified.

Now when we talk about crying out to the Lord, we look at all these promises that say: "If you cry out I will hear and will answer. I will deliver you."

We read those verses in Psalm 34:17 for example. I think they're kind of perplexing because they say God hears the cry of the righteous, and He delivers them out of all their troubles.

That little word all sometimes is baffling to me because I look at my own life, and I look at the lives of others, and I can see situations where it does not appear that that's been true. I've had troubles; you've had troubles that they've not been delivered from. It seems that they're crying out to the Lord, and yet it doesn't seem that there's been deliverance.

Well first of all, we need to realize that God doesn't always answer in our timetable. You see, to us a week of crying out seems like a long time, not to speak of a month or a year or years, maybe even decades, in say a troubled marriage crying out to the Lord, and yet God doesn't change that husband's heart. God doesn't change that situation.

To us that seems like an eternity, but if we could get into eternity and see time from God's vantage point, we would realize that even decades are just a blip on a screen as far as eternity is concerned.

I think one of the reasons is so that we will keep crying out to God. This happened with the children of Israel. We read in Exodus chapter 2:23-24 that they cried out to God when they were slaves in Egypt. They groaned in their bondage. They cried out out to the Lord and the Scripture says God heard them, and He set in motion their deliverance.

But it was quite some time before they actually experienced the deliverance. In fact, their situation got worse before it got better. There were battles to be fought, and the deliverance was not always immediate because God wanted them to keep crying out to Him.

You see, from now till we get to heaven, God wants us to make a lifestyle of crying out to Him. In Luke chapter 18:7 Jesus says: "Shall not God avenge His own elect, His own children, who cry out day and night to Him though He bears long with them."

There are some aspects of God's deliverance that we will not see until we have cried out a long time to the Lord. Then there are times when it doesn't seem that God is hearing at all.

Now I think one of the most helpful illustrations to me in the Scripture is the example of the Lord Jesus Himself. We know how Jesus went into Gethsemane shortly before He went to the cross. He knew He was going to the cross. He knew that was God's plan and God's calling for His life. That's why He'd come to earth.

And yet as a man, He knew all that would involve in terms of being separated from God and bearing (the sinless Son of God bearing) all the sin of the world on His own shoulders. He knew it meant He would become sin for us, and He hated sin. He loved righteousness, but He was going to have to take on Himself all our contamination.

So He cried out in the garden of Gethsemane, "God, if it's possible, don't make Me go through this." The Scripture says He cried out so much that His sweat was as drops of blood (Luke 23:39-46). There was physically an involvement of His body in this crying out to the Lord. It was an earnest crying out to the Lord.

Then on the cross He cried out and it doesn't appear, if you don't read to the end of the story, that God heard or answered His cries, and yet there's a verse in Hebrews chapter 5 that tells us in fact God did hear. Now remember Jesus went to the cross; He died; He was buried; and it looked as if Jesus' cries had gone unheard and unanswered.

But Hebrews 5 verse 7 tells us that: "Jesus offered up prayers and supplication with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death and He was heard."

He was heard because of His godly fear. Jesus' prayer and cries were heard, but God did not answer them in the way or in the timetable that we would have wanted them to be answered if we'd been the one in that garden or hanging on that cross.

Psalm 22 is an Old Testament passage that gives us a little more detail on this process in Jesus' life. I think it gives a lot of light for our own process. Psalm chapter 22, and let me just pick out a few verses through this chapter. It begins in verse 1, and this is an Old Testament prophetic psalm of the Lord Jesus.

He says in verse 1, that cry from the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me and from the words of my groaning? Oh my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not hear and in the night season and I am not silent."

Jesus knew what it was to cry out to God in the day and in the night and to feel that His prayers weren't being answered. You know what that's like. Some of you have cried out to the Lord on behalf of that wayward son or daughter or grandchild for years, and you've not seen the answer. You've cried out to God on behalf of your marriage, and you've not seen the change that you long to see in your mate.

Then He says in verse 4, Psalm 22, He goes back and remembers the testimony of others: "Our fathers trusted in you. They trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and you delivered. They trusted in you and were not ashamed."

When we see what God has done on behalf of others as they have cried out to the Lord, our hearts are given courage and faith to keep crying out. So He says in verse 19, Psalm 22: "But you O Lord, do not be far from me."

He keeps crying out. "Oh my strength hasten to help Me." He's saying, I'm not going to stop crying out. I'm going to keep crying out, out of my distress. And then we come to that wonderful phrase in verse 21: "You have answered me."

Now the answer wasn't seen until the resurrection. The situation seemed hopeless, but God was still on His throne. God was still at work. Sunday morning was coming, and that's when the resurrection would come and God would deliver His servant His Son.

And so Jesus says--we're speaking of Jesus here in Psalm 22--"You have answered me." It's a statement of faith. Then what will be the result after the deliverance is seen and known? Verse 22: "I will declare your name to my brethren. In the midst of the assembly I will praise you."

You see, there's praise that comes, a testimony to the glory of God when we've cried out to the Lord and by faith or in actual experience; we have seen the deliverance of the Lord.

Some of you whose children are older, you've seen God deliver and turn the hearts of your children. You have a testimony to tell to some of these younger women who are still crying out to the Lord on behalf of their children.

So in verse 24 the psalmist says: "He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, nor has He hidden His face from him," even though it seems as if He did. But, verse 24: "When he cried to Him, God heard."

Then what's the end result? Verse 27: "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord. And all the families of the nations shall worship before you."

Ladies, what it's all about is that ultimately you and I and this whole world will become worshipers of God. In order for that to happen, you and I may have to have some circumstances that don't get solved quickly or easily.

I'm thinking of a dear friend who as a college student, asleep in her apartment one night, had someone she did not know break into the apartment. By the time she awakened to cry out she was being strangled, sexually attacked.

She cried out, and there's no evidence that moment that her cry was heard. You can look back at a situation like that as I walked through those days with my friend and think, "Where was God?"

But I want to tell you that now, years later, and there were some very tough, dark years that followed that situation, but I look at her now, and I would say and she would say there is a fruit--a beauty, a glory, a fullness, a holiness that God has brought about in her life that might not be at the same level if she had not experienced that cry when she was attacked and she cried, and it did not appear that her cry was heard.

When it doesn't seem that God is hearing or that He's answering and it seems like the cross is the final chapter in your story--remember it's not. After Friday comes Saturday, and after Saturday comes Sunday. And on Sunday comes the resurrection. God will be glorified.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss encouraging anyone who feels like God just hasn't heard their prayer. She'll be right back with some additional thoughts.

But let me tell you how you can hear even more of Nancy's teaching on the subject. We've had to cut some of the content in order to fit our time slot on the radio. If you order the series on CD, you can hear all of the complete messages.

To order you can call 1-800-569-5959, and ask for the series Crying Out. You can also order online at ReviveOurHearts.com. While you're there, you can also order Psalms From the Heart. It's a CD of Nancy reading Psalms set to music.

If you're crying out in a long-term difficulty, this CD will encourage your heart. Again the web address is ReviveOurHearts.com or call 1-800-569-5959.

On Monday we'll continue to look at some reasons God may wait for an answer to prayer. Now let's join Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What is the circumstance you're facing right now where it doesn't seem like God is hearing or is answering? Would you say, "Oh Lord, though it doesn't seem that You're present, by faith I know that You are. I've cried out to You before, and I'm going to keep crying out to You believing by faith that You do answer the cries of Your children."

And O Lord, would You fulfill the deepest desire and cry of our hearts to know You, to be conformed to the image of Christ. Even if that means that there comes a point where we have to feel abandoned, may we embrace those desperate moments knowing that You are fulfilling a deeper longing and cry of our heart to be wholly Yours. Thank You for hearing. Thank You that You are answering, and thank You that You will be glorified. We pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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