Friday, March 22, 2013

To Hear My Soul's Complaint

One popular LDS hymn is I Know that My Redeemer Lives. I'm not particularly a fan of that hymn because I find the music to be dull and a bit repetitive, and it kind of plods along. (Give me something upbeat and brassy like Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.) But I was thinking about it as I was driving home from work yesterday, and something stuck out to me.

In verse 2, there's the line "He lives to hear my soul's complaint." When I was a teenager, this struck me as odd, since the scriptures seemed to have a pretty negative view of complaining (calling it "murmuring" and asserting that it was unrighteous and faithless). I had an epiphany yesterday.

In legal terms, a complaint is the first document filed in a lawsuit. It's a list of the plaintiff's grievances, along with factual allegations to support those grievances. After listing the grievances, there's a section entitled "prayer for relief", which is a request for the court to do something about the problem.

I like that imagery of God. God, being sovereign and omnipotent, has subject matter jurisdiction over our problems and personal jurisdiction over our adversaries. And He wants to hear our troubles. In fact, we have been instructed to cast our burdens on the Lord. (See Psalm 55:2, Matthew 11:28-30.) We can tell Him our concerns and pray for relief, and He has the power to grant the requested relief. And if it's a proper request, He will grant it.

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