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TPC Blog

Feeling Distressed?

Posted by Jeremy McKeen on

There are times when everything in life seems to be as it should be. Where you, “think to yourself, what a wonderful world.” But it’s no secret; life is also full of trouble. In this life the sweet wine of joy is mixed with the bitterness of sorrow. There are times of distress, pain and spiritual dryness where we don’t feel like facing another day or have no clue how to get out of a particular struggle or difficulty. Maybe you’re right in the middle of a distressful time or don’t realize that trouble is right around the corner. What are you to do? What does wisdom look like in times of distress? Psalm 107 confronts the realities of distress and how to wisely respond to them.

Four different times the Psalmist mentions different types of distresses you can often find yourself in because of sin, your enemies or just the brokenness of the world around you.

Verse 5 – “They were hungry and thirsty; their soul fainted within them.”

Verse 12 – “They stumbled and there was none to help.”

Verse 18 – “They drew near to the gates of death.”

Verse 27 – “They were at their wits’ end.”

In times like these, the world tells us that a wise person turns to him or herself and should be able to get out of trouble on his or her own. But that is not wisdom. In this Psalm, when God’s people faced times of spiritual dryness, the consequences of their sinful brokenness, or impossible complex situations, in each instance listen to how they responded and what God did. 

Verse 6 – Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
 and he delivered them from their distress.

Verse 13 – Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
 and he delivered them from their distress.

Verse 19 – Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
 and he delivered them from their distress.

Verse 28 - Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
 and he delivered them from their distress.

The Psalmist is being repetitious for a reason. He’s trying to reinforce the simple practice of prayer that goes against our independent nature. Not a wordy prayer. Not a prayer that is filled with a mess of theological jargon. No, just a simple cry for help will do. It doesn’t take a PHD professor to be able to cry. Even an infant can cry for help. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe wisdom is being like a child. So, to whom are you turning for help? Unlike the false wisdom of the world, a wise person is not someone who turns to themselves in times of distress and leans on their own understanding; a wise person cries out to God. No matter what you’re facing today or will face tomorrow, be wise enough to cry out to the Lord like a helpless child. Because that’s in fact, what we all are. Sound your humble cry to the Most High and then wait upon the Lord. For our God is not distant. We don't have to wonder if He will hear our distress signal. For our God is near, a very present help in times of trouble. 

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