Read Psalm 64.
I love David’s bluntness as he begins Psalm 64: “Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint” (v. 1). Complaint is such an ugly word. No one wants to be accused of complaining or be labeled a complainer. But sometimes, ugly or not, it’s what flows from the heart.
Whatever David’s specific complaint, he’s not messing around. He believes his life is in danger. “Protect my life from the threat of the enemy,” he says (v. 1). Our complaints might not rise to this level of deadly seriousness, but God doesn’t seem to limit what we can bring to Him.
Jesus’ good friend Peter wrote, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7), and his words echo those of David in the Psalms: “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (55:22). I love how exhaustive Peter’s version is—all our anxiety. Not just what we can’t handle on our own, our overflow. Not just the things that seem religious. Not just what’s been filtered or made PG. All our anxieties. Big ones. Little ones. The ones we’re not sure how to give voice to. Every last one.
I also love the imagery of casting. When we cast something, we throw it far away. It leaves our hands. It’s no longer ours to carry. It’s gone. In writing these words, Peter’s hope was not that we would become complaint factories, but that when we bring our cares and worries and grievances to God, we’d leave them there.
There’s an old hymn by Charles Tindley called “Leave It There.” I became aware of the song when Randall Goodgame included it on his hymns record some years back. The refrain goes like this:
Leave it there, leave it there,
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;
If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out—
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
Burdens. When you get down to it, isn’t that what our complaints are? What comes out of our mouths are just the symptoms of the unnatural weight we’re carrying. But God will take that weight off of our shoulders if we’ll let Him.
I have to admit I struggle with this. For some reason, I like to feel the weight of my burdens. Complaints pour from my lips when the pressure is on, and I can have a hard time pausing and bringing things to the Lord. Maybe it’s because I know if I go to God, I’ll have to leave my complaining there. I’ll have to surrender control to Him. But that’s what following Jesus is all about, right? The follower doesn’t get to pick the path or the destination. The follower doesn’t get to decide what he carries and what he doesn’t. The follower just looks to the footsteps of Jesus and lets Him decide those things.
Well, Jesus has decided. He wants us to give all our cares, all our anxieties, and all our complaints to Him.