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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Mary C. Earle

Tuesday, April 28

Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you.
—Psalm 28:2

Some years ago a friend of mine went to hear Elie Wiesel speak at a local university. Wiesel was telling stories of his experience of living in Auschwitz, stories of horror and redemption, of violence and kindness. At the end of the talk, Wiesel offered to receive questions.

A young man went to the microphone and asked earnestly, “Tell me, after all you have lived through, after all you have seen, do you still believe in God?”

My friend said Wiesel turned pink, gripped the sides of the lectern, turned half-away, took a deep breath, and then said with slow, steady emphasis, “We have never ceased from conversation.”  He went on to say that he continued to challenge God, to name the evil, to call God to task—all in the tradition of the psalmist.

This was a major turning point in my friend’s spiritual journey, in her own seeking of a path of life. If Elie Wiesel, who had known the evil of Auschwitz, could continue to converse with God, so could she. If Elie Wiesel could be that honest and transparent in his prayer, she could begin to pour out her own sadness caused by a straying husband and a divorce.

She started crying out to God.

Sometimes that looked like standing in the backyard at night and crying, praying with tears.

Sometimes that looked like telling God of her ache and her disillusion, her despair and her fear.

Over months, she voiced her prayer, crying out. She decided not to cease from conversation. She decided to speak aloud to the living God, to hurl her anger and pain into infinite mercy so that they might be transformed.

She began to be able to listen, after she had spoken her piece. As she found the voice of her prayer, she also found the capacity to allow for stillness and for quiet.

Now, years later, she says to me from time to time, “We have not ceased from conversation.” It is a short-hand code that tells me her prayer cries out. And that it is received.

Grant me the grace to voice true prayer, to cry out when I need to cry out, and to praise when it is time to praise. Amen.