“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.” -Ps. 107:19
If repentance is a gateway for revival, then distress is a blessing. Naturally we are more apt to turn to God in repentance when we are experiencing the bone breaking pain or panic stricken fear of crisis. It is often in these moments that we cry out to God in repentance or for rescue. What we find is that we are met with the steadfast love of the Lord, redemption, and personal revival.
Psalm 107 (read all of it if you have time) describes four kinds of distress pressing people harshly as to leave them only to cry out to God.
Soul distress. This kind of distress is experienced by the lost soul, wandering in the wilderness of life, with no way and no water. At the low point of soul distress, the soul gives way or “faints” and is left only to cry out to the Lord. Our Redeemer is quick to answer the call and deliver us from soul distress by giving us a path, a home, and satisfying our thirsty souls with living water.
Bondage. The distress of bondage is experienced by the one who rebels against the Word of God. Described as sitting in darkness as prisoners in iron, people experiencing this kind of distress feel captive and stuck. At the lowest point of bondage, we fall down with no one to help and cry out to the Lord. Our Savior answers quickly by bringing us from darkness to light and breaking our spiritual shackles. After all, the prophet Isaiah reminds us that he came to set the captives free.
Affliction. Some become fools as evidenced by repeated sinful ways. Such iniquities result in affliction. Things like disease, depression, and death are the afflictions that the writer of Psalms describes. In the depths of affliction, as we near death’s gate, we are left to cry out to God. Our Deliverer is quick to lavish us with steadfast love. In this case, He sends out the word of truth to combat the lies, delivering and healing us from affliction.
At wits end. This is the kind of distress that causes us to feel like we have no answer. It is as if we have applied all of our wisdom to the given situation and still we cannot overcome, fix, or remove the cause of distress. In this case, it’s all going bad, we are trying hard, and yet we end up reeling and staggering under the burden of distress. We are literally at our wits end. We are left, in our distress, only to cry out to God. Our Peace Giver quickly responds, causing the raging storm to still, bringing us to a safe haven when we thought we would surely drown.
We have all been in one of these categories of distress and I am guessing we might be again. Where are you today? Is your soul in distress? Are you at your wits end? Are you captive? Cry out to God who hears our cry and rescues us even when our distress is a result of our own sin.
The Psalmist says “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good for his steadfast love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” (Psalm 107:1-2)
We serve an awesome God who uses our distress as a gateway for repentance and revival and a pathway for redemption. He loves us and always answers our cry to him.
LORD, thank you for hearing our cry and saving us from our lostness, our bondage, our affliction, and our exasperation. Your steadfast love is astounding. Help us to receive your love and give us the faith, as the redeemed, to tell others of you Jesus, the only One who can deliver us from our distress. Give us revival Jesus. Revive our city, a people in spiritual distress