More Than a Scream to Nowhere
Thursday - July 16th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Psalm 34:4-7
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 7:1-12
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
One of the places I hope to visit someday is Iceland. I guess it is one of my bucket list items (although I have never written out a formal bucket list). In recent years, Iceland has become a popular and inexpensive place for American tourists - especially among American millennials. Photos of the country depict a beautiful landscape, and the people seem friendly - if not a little quirky (in a fun kind of way).
That quirkiness of the people of Iceland emerged in a campaign by Iceland's Tourism Board. They invited people anywhere in the world feeling stressed by lockdown to let off steam by having their screams recorded on the campaign's website. The results will then be played from one of seven speakers set up around the sparsely populated country. The website reads: "You've been through a lot this year, and it looks like you need the perfect place to let your frustrations out. Somewhere big, vast and untouched. It looks like you need Iceland."
Those who record their screams can choose where they will be played in Iceland, with locations including the peak of Festarfjall in Reykjanes Peninsula and Skógarfoss waterfall in the south.
As quoted in the Press Association of Iceland, Psychotherapist Zoe Aston said: "The events of this year mean most of us have experienced increased feelings of frustrations, fear, loneliness, anger or guilt, and we have all coped in different ways." She continued by explaining how the screams help: "Using a scream as a way to release pent up emotion allows you to reconnect with yourself, hear your own voice and reclaim the power that is inside you." Aston's description of the increased feelings experienced in lockdown due to COVID-19 is spot on. But, her prescription for what screaming will do falls incredibly short. Her advice leaves God out entirely and pumps up some sort of self-healing from within.
The God who made us agrees that we can scream or cry out at times of great fear or frustration. That is a legitimate human response to bottled up and indescribable emotions due to challenging life circumstances. But when we scream or cry out, we aim the frustrations and fears bottled up in us at God. We cry out to Him for our help.
David, in exile and on the run from King Saul, found himself alone, confused, and frustrated in a cave. He lived there for months. Eventually, he shared with others what his cold, dark cave experience was like. In Psalm 34, we hear from him directly about that lonely experience that made him want to scream. What David says in verse six stands out to me. "This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles." "Cried out" can be translated from the Hebrew in which the Psalms are written as "screamed."
While letting your voice scream in the vastness of Iceland's beautiful landscape might excite you, the nothingness into which your voice will echo can do nothing to help or heal you. You do not have the power within yourself to cope with the magnitude of life's problems. No scream anywhere can provide you with that kind of strength. But, God can and will provide that strength for you as His child. Like David, you can cry out or scream to God. You can expel all of your fears and frustrations and know that He will hear you. He will walk with you through the darkest storm or the deepest cave. Crying out to God is more than a scream to nowhere!
Go ahead. Go to LooksLikeYouNeedIceland.com (what an excellent name for a tourism website) and record your scream. Let it be heard in the middle of nowhere Iceland and watch the video they will send of your scream being released. Have fun with the quirky tourism site (I did). But, then spend some time letting God hear your heart's cry. Pour out your frustrations and fears to Him. He will answer. He will meet you in that moment.
When you scream out to God, His Spirit in you will bring a peace that passes all human understanding!