From the ends of the earth I call to you . . . as my heart grows faint. Psalm 61:2
Author and theologian Russell Moore described noticing the eerie silence in the Russian orphanage where he adopted his boys. Someone later explained that the babies had stopped crying because they learned that no one would respond to their cries.
When we face difficult times, we too can feel that no one hears. And worst of all, we can feel that God Himself doesn’t listen to our cries or see our tears. But He does! And that’s why we need the language of petition and protest found especially in the book of Psalms. The psalmists petition for God’s help and also protest their situation to Him. In Psalm 61, David brings his petitions and protests before his Creator, stating, “I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (v. 2). David cries out to God because he knows that only He is his “refuge” and “strong tower” (v. 3).
Praying the petitions and protests of the psalms is a way of affirming God’s sovereignty and appealing to His goodness and faithfulness. They’re proof of the intimate relationship we can experience with God. In difficult moments, we can all be tempted to believe the lie that He doesn’t care. But He does. He hears us and is with us.
How does it encourage you to know that God hears your desperate prayers? What petitions and protests will you share with Him today?
Dear Jesus, help me to offer You my petitions, protests, and praise.
The background of Psalm 61 is difficult to ascertain because the superscription only gives a brief musical instruction: “For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David.” What do we know? The content of the psalm itself is worshipful and—with the heavy emphasis on the singer being the king himself—clearly qualifies as a royal psalm. Additionally, some see in this song the characteristics of lament, especially in verse 2 where we read, “as my heart grows faint.” This statement seems to speak of a heart that’s overwhelmed with the circumstances of life and needs safety, hence the references to God as “refuge” and “tower” (vv. 3–4). The song may have been written during the season when David was driven from the kingdom by his son Absalom because the references to his role as king wouldn’t have applied when he was being pursued by King Saul.