Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I think of an esteemed Scottish minister named George Matheson, who was reminded at his sister’s wedding of the rejection and the great disappointment he had experienced just before he was to marry his college fiancée.
George Matheson was going blind. When told of his impending total blindness, she is said to have informed him, “I do not wish to be the wife of a blind preacher. I love you, but I will have to let you go!” When reminded of this again at his sister’s wedding, he penned the words of a song entitled, “Oh love that wilt not let me go.”
I’m glad today, that God doesn’t say to me, “I love you, but I will have to let you go”. No—not at all. God the Father would never say that. Scripture says:
The Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us… (Romans 8:26)
The Lord knew that there would be times when we would be so overwhelmed with emotion that we wouldn’t know how or what to pray, so he gave us his Spirit to help us during those times.
In the Scriptures, the Psalmist declares, “I am too distressed even to pray!” (Psalm 77:4 – NLT)
and, “You have enlarged me when I was in distress.” (Psalm 4:1 – AKJV).
When We Are Distressed
Merriam-Webster online describes distress as “a pain or suffering in the body”, i.e. a troubled mind; a state of danger or desperate need. Many today are living in this state of anxiety due to events that have gone out of control, either by an act committed by themselves or someone else, or events of life that occur outside of our control.
Distress, I think, is more than just some stress due to an inconvenience. Distress can better be described as a crisis of some sort in your life—a crisis that appears insurmountable, painful, even to the body and especially the mind.
The real question in your heart at those times may be, Where is God? What can he do, or will he do? The Psalms speak frequently and honestly of the distresses common to us all. Every time David experienced distress he also discovered God, who was there and his love, grace, power, and purpose were not diminished in the least.
In the New Testament, the Greek word translated as ‘distress’ describes pressure/narrowness of room.
Don’t Delay Turning to God—He Can Hear You in Your Distress
Today, we call that stress—when something is squeezing you in ways that are very uncomfortable. Distress is what you feel when the pressure seems too much to bear, when life’s situations seem limiting, until you turn to God. Why does it take us so long before we look to the only One who always has sufficient grace and power?
In 2 Samuel, we read that David said that God heard his cries for help and responded:
The waves of death overwhelmed me;
floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave wrapped its ropes around me;
death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
yes, I cried to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry reached his ears. (2 Samuel 22:5-7 – NLT)
In the Psalms we also find many instances of distress:
In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.” (Psalm 18:6 – NIV)