A man who heeds an upward call—rejecting passivity, accepting responsibility, leading courageously, and investing eternally—is signing up for a spiritual fight. He's sure to be confronted with the usual emotions of battle: confusion, discouragement, fatigue, fear, and anger.
And herein lies a challenge. We need to be able to express these emotions to God. But how? "Staying connected to your heart" and "communicating at an emotional level" is not typical boot camp training. Fortunately, God inspired an entire book to help men connect with their heart, and it's the easiest one to find. Open any Bible to the middle, and there you meet the Psalms.
Years ago, a friend introduced me to praying through the Psalms. For a man who sometimes stammers and mumbles when asked, "How are you feeling," I surprisingly found a voice. As if God knew I needed help, he inspired a book of mentors.
Feeling overwhelmed? open to Psalm 5: "Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry." Anxious? I turn the page to Psalm 6: "My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord–how long?" When frustration sets in, I flee to Psalm 16: "I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken."
The emotions of these Psalms are so naked, so unbridled that I sometimes blush. "Can I say that to God?" On this question, author Patrick Henry Reardon has been helpful. He counsels, "To relinquish any one of the psalms on the excuse that its sentiments are too violent for a Christian is a clear sign that a person has also given up the very battle that a Christian is summoned from his bed to fight. The psalms are prayers for those engaged in an ongoing spiritual conflict. No one else need bother even opening the book." (Christ in the Psalms, 6).
Jesus evidently opened this book quite often. Drive nails through His hands and He bleeds out psalms. His final, anguished dry was clipped from Psalm 22: "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" Having said that, He breathed his last and finished well.
This article is an excerpt from 33 The Series Volume 2: A Man and His Story. View Session 1 of A Man and His Story. CLICK HERE to view all 33 The Series resources.