Sometimes in life, you just feel like screaming. For whatever reason, fear, frustration, impatience, exhaustion, agitation, and the like, you just feel like a scream will make you feel better. Screaming can have a cathartic effect. For some, it’s therapeutic. When you have a ton of pent up stress brewing in you, letting it out verbally can give you a sense of relief. When you’re feeling flustered releasing it out can make you feel a little freer and take some weight off.
There is no doubt that most people carry a heavyweight of burdens with them. While invisible to the eye, hearts can be heavy, and sorrows hidden as we pass one another with our pleasantries and greetings. Deep inside, we may be ready to scream. For one person they may openly let their scream be heard not caring who hears it. Others may bury their face in a pillow to muffle their scream and thus not draw attention to themselves.
The Bible is full of screams. I imagine that there were screams outside Noah’s ark once the flood came. Jonah probably let out a scream right before he was swallowed by a large fish. Mary screamed in childbirth as she gave birth to Jesus. Zacchaeus, the dishonest tax collector, probably screamed with joy when Jesus told him he was going to his house. And even Jesus screamed as he hung on a cross as he was crucified. Sometimes you just have to scream
In Psalm 107 the writer repeats the phrase, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.” (Psalm 107:6) In this particular situation, the people raised their voices and cried for help amidst their trouble. Their cry was ongoing, seeking to draw attention from God to notice and understand the difficult situation they found themselves in. Would God hear them? Would God respond? When you are screaming for help, where is God anyway?
If you are like me, during this global pandemic where our lives have been so altered by the rapidly spreading virus, I have found myself just wanting to scream sometimes to release all the stressful energy that builds up when life is altered and any return to a previous time does not seem to be an option. So, we scream, and we scream a little more.
The good news of scripture is that God is not put off by our screaming. While someone screaming in front of us may make us feel uncomfortable, God remains steadfast even in our screaming desperation. God doesn’t check out when the anxiety level rises, but God remains a peaceful presence wherever we are screaming from. And even as we scream, God is already working to deliver us and bring us to a better place. It might not happen immediately, and we in fact may have to scream some more, but we can trust that God is near, God is with us, and God will deliver.
So, if you have to scream, then scream. If you have to cry, then cry. If you have to throw up your arms in frustration, then throw up your arms. God can handle it all.
The Scream by Edvard Munch