Bread – Distress

May 2, 2018


Psalm 102

“Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to You!  Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress!…For my days pass away like smoke..”  Ps. 102:1-3a

When one reads this entire Psalm, you are struck with the litany of physical ills which are described.  And for sure, bad health causes us great distress, whether caused by abuse of our body, family history, circumstances, mosquitoes, the weather, allergens, or just advancing age and infirmity.  During this time, we call upon the Lord for healing, for comfort, and for perseverance through it all.

But there is a greater distress than bodily illness.  That distress is also caused by abuse of our relationships, our family history from Adam, the attacks of the enemy (mosquitoes), changes of mood caused by the absence of light, or just advancing cynicism and selfishness.  That greater distress is separation from love, from relationships with one’s friends and family, from people at large, and, either initially or ultimately, separation from God.

So, in a very real sense our prayer to God “in the day of my distress” is not a prayer so much of fixing what is broke for today, but fixing what is broke for eternity.

Do you feel that distress today?  Do you sense that things are not “quite right,” that maybe you are not “quite right?”  Do you feel like you need to make amends to a friend or a family member but do not have the strength or courage to do so, and are distressed by your lack of will, power, or desire?  Do you feel like there is a gap between where you are and where you need to be?

Distress is not a bad thing, because it is a warning sign of something deeper, something longer lasting, something which is broken.  Ignore the warning sign at your peril.

What is the key thing being said here in this Psalm?  Is it the commentary on the physical illnesses resulting in distress?  Is it teaching us how to “yell” at God when He appears to be absent, when He appears not to care?  Is it a demand for action?

I think the key thing which is being said here is that the Psalmist is saying it at all.  While we might, in the day of our distress, reach for the bottle or the pill or demonstrate self-pity, whine, or retreat into victimhood, the Psalmist does not retreat into himself but goes to the throne room of God, where he knows his prayer will be and is being heard by the only One with power to do something about it.

The key thing being said in this Psalm is “Hear…O Lord.”

In the day of our distress, we run first to our self-help books, our Internet, our physicians and friends, and our pharmacists.  Maybe, instead, we should run first to God.

It is amazing how resting in the arms of the Almighty is a major distress reliever.

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© 2018 GBF   All quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Bible  (Crossway Bibles, 2008), unless otherwise noted.

 

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