“Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.” Psalm 28:6
Have you ever been in a desperate situation? Maybe you’re there right now. You see no hope in sight for a better outcome. You’re crushed underneath the weight of your struggle. You’re at the point of absolute despair, feeling like you can’t breathe another breath.
Hold on, dear friend, and lift up your hands, lift up your voice, lift up your soul – for the Lord God is rich in mercy.
The writer in Psalm 28 found himself about to tumble into the pit of death, and he cried out in desperation to the Lord, his Rock. He felt the weight of despair about to overcome him, and probably had for some time with no relief in sight. He pleaded for God to not be silent, but to hear his cry for mercy. He called out to Him for help, for the Lord was his only hope of rescue.
And he received mercy in his time of misery.
The Bible is full of men and women and families and nations who cried out to the Lord in the midst of desperate situations. Here are just three examples from Matthew’s gospel:
- The blind men who shouted out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” (Mt. 9:27)
- The Canaanite woman whose daughter was suffering terribly from demon-possession cried out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mt. 15:22)
- The man whose son suffered greatly from seizures knelt before Jesus, “Lord, have mercy on my son.” (Mt. 17:15)
Read these accounts in their contexts and you’ll see that Jesus is the God of mercy. Even though He didn’t just snap His fingers automatically to heal them, He still heard their cries. Even though He may have seemed to delay a response to their need, He still heard their cries. And He rewarded their persistent faith.
God responds in mercy because He is merciful. I don’t know of a single account in all of Scripture where anyone who comes humbly before the Lord asking for mercy is denied. Even the thief on the cross in his final hour asked Jesus for mercy, and He gave it saying, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Surely He is also the God who will “judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5), and will soon come to “convict the all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words the ungodly have spoken against him” (Jude 1:15). But His mercy is offered right now to all who call upon the name of Jesus for salvation, repenting of sin and trusting in Him. “Our Lord’s patience means salvation” (2 Peter 3:15), so “seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isa. 55:6).
Call upon the name of the Lord, you who are troubled and desperate! Call on Him day and night – in faith – until you receive His mercy. Come humbly before His throne of mercy and grace, through Jesus, and you will find help!
You’ll never get a busy signal or a recorded voice greeting you with, “All our representative are assisting other callers right now. Please hold. Your wait time is approximately 30 minutes.” You’ll never get an, ““I’m sorry, that’s not my department. Let me transfer you.” You’ll never hear Him say, “Well, it looks like we’ve run out of mercy today. You should have come sooner.”
The Bible says, “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). God’s mercy is promised not the unrepentant, rebellious and defiant, but to those who belong to Him. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Mt. 5:7).
Yes, He may delay His answer for His own purposes. Perhaps to test the genuineness of your faith. Maybe to see how dependent upon Him you truly are. Sometimes He may even allow you to experience the consequences of your actions as a way of disciplining you in love.
But be assured, dear friend, that the Lord hears the prayers of His people. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).
May you have cause to give praise to the Lord today, and proclaim your thanksgiving aloud, knowing He has heard your cry for mercy.