Thursday, February 6, 2020

Calling on the Lord in Times of Distress

In my distress I called to the LORD, and He answered me.” -Psalm 120:1
There are days, even seasons, which feels so heavy upon your heart and nothing seems to go right. Your workload and workplace relationships are stressed. Home life isn’t a refuge, but only adds to the stress. Perhaps you become the object of scorn. The idea of stress accompanied with hurtful words stings your heart and keeps you up at night. Everything around you presses upon you. Your heart gives weight to the biblical word “distress.”

In Psalm120, the Psalmist is being attacked by lips of falsehood and lying words which feel like they were arrows shot by an enemy attacker and burning coals upon the heart (vs 4). The Psalmist has lived a long time surrounded by such a crowd of people who hate peace (vs 5-6). He even writes, “I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war” (vs 7).

Do you know of such folks? Even the kindest words seem to provoke them. Much like Proverbs 25:21-22, feeding your enemy or simply showing a steadfast kindness is like pouring hot coals upon their heads. The slightest things you mean for peace is viewed as an act of aggression. No matter how much peace you speak, they stir more drama and add to the stress of the whole thing. 

Notice where this overwhelmed, over-stressed, grieved, aching Psalmist goes: “In my distress I called to the Lord.” It is so easy that when others bring war and scorn to break with our peace and engage our enemies in our distress. As our Lord Jesus set the example, so must we follow this Psalmist. When you are in distress, call out to the Lord. Pray. Pray long and pray deep. Pray for endurance in the pains of distress. Pray for His peace which surpasses understanding, even if these lying lips continue their heated and painful scorn.

We have this assurance, beloved: “And He answered me.” Judgment is left in His hands (vs 3), for vengeance belongs to the Lord (Romans 12:19). Ask the Lord for peace and remain speaking peace even if they speak war. Remain at peace, even if the pressures around you do not ease and the scoffers around you are still provoked by every way of peace. When weakened in your distress, call to the Lord. He will answer: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9).
Heavenly Father, whether we are in distress or distress can creep unexpectedly soon, we rejoice in the assurance You provide that when we cry out to You, You will answer us. Bless us, Father, by Your rich mercies to be at peace and continue to speak peace, even if the hostility around us does not relent. Your grace is enough for us. Strengthen us according to Your promises for us in Christ. Amen.

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