Psalm 102:1 LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you; hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
I wept when my mother was wheeled into surgery. Later she told me how surprised she was that I had cried so much. You always seem so strong, she said. I didn't know you cared so much. Her words were a blow. Inside, I often feel fragile as porcelain lace but somehow I had erected an exterior so tough that my own mother didn't know my aches and fears.
When we embrace a bootstrap philosophy, we make it hard to show weakness. But stoicism is anathema to the life God calls us to live. There is no extra credit for taking our lumps with a brave face, for acting as if the trials of life don't affect us. We need tender hearts. We need to bare our own pain and help bear the suffering of others.
It is actually impossible to pick yourself off the ground by pulling up your own bootstraps. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, to do as the psalmist does and plead with God to hear our cries. When we stop hiding our faces from the Lord in times of trouble, we can begin to embrace the weak as strong, the poor as mighty, and our God as constant companion.
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