Psalm 118 gives us this testimony. “I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.” (vs. 5-6,8-9)
Notice the psalmist said he “called on the Lord”. That sounds so calm and confident, but the word ‘called’ means to cry out with a loud voice! It is an outburst of emotion that comes from deep within. And this time it was coming from distress.
I remember one of the times when I was in trouble, turmoil, suffering and anxiety. I could see no way out. I considered it from every angle I could think of, but there was nothing I could do to change the situation. When I called on the Lord, it was loud and went something like this: “Where is God and what is He doing?” I didn’t even direct that question to Him personally. But He heard me, anyway. And He answered me.
I knew He was right there and that He was working on my behalf, but I was in distress! I wanted to see victory right then. And victory did come. But it came in God’s timing and it came God’s way. He knows the right way and the right time.
In times of distress, the comfort and support we receive from others is a tremendous blessing. To know someone is on our side can be quite a comfort. But our real help comes from the Lord.
There is not a single person who can keep us safe or deliver us from every trouble that arises. There are no earthly princes, kings or presidents who can make everything right. Only God can do that. We need to learn to put our trust and confidence in Him alone. And we learn to trust God by going through those times of distress, calling on Him, and watching as He brings us through.
Just recently, God gave me a lesson that began with small requests. The picture I had planned to use for my upcoming book was lost in the shuffle and I needed to get another one at the same church where that one had been taken. The pastor was gracious to let us come and make the picture. I still felt some apprehension about getting it just right, so I prayed that God would let everything go smoothly. It couldn’t have been any easier. The next day, I was to go in the downtown area of a nearby city to cast my vote. My mother was with me. I wasn’t sure where the building was, but I knew the traffic could cause a problem with me finding the right building and a place to park. I had seen pictures of the chaos someone had posted. I prayed that God would help us find it without a problem. As I was driving toward the area, we saw the number on a building beside us. We were almost right at the address we needed. Immediately a car started to back out of a parking space. I waited for them to come out and pulled into the space. Another prayer answered. Later, as I was shopping, I asked for favor in buying dolls for my Samaritan’s Purse shoe boxes. I found the dolls for the exact price I had asked.
Now, let me explain something here. God doesn’t always open up parking spaces and let me find dolls immediately after I pray. Sometimes I have to walk in the rain or pay more than I expected for the merchandise I need. However, He was building my faith to believe for a much bigger mountain. When we returned home, one of my sisters called to let me know of an “impossible” situation, an emergency, involving a close family member. We all went to prayer. And over the next day or two we saw God work miraculously. He not only provided safety, but He provided safety with an upgrade. God goes above and beyond because He can!
I praise God for preparing me for what was coming. I was confident that if He cared about pictures, parking spaces and dolls, He certainly cared more about the crisis our loved one was facing.
God doesn’t work in our way or in our timing. His is always superior to ours. I will quote a friend of ours who says, “God has ways we don’t know anything about.” And she is right! I have shared her words many times, but we need to be reminded of them constantly. Because sometimes, if we can’t figure it out, we give up and come to the conclusion that God can’t do it.
We should never discount the fact that God does the impossible. We read of how He opened the Red Sea, brought down the walls of Jericho, and miraculously saved king Hezekiah and his people from a hostile army. We may not understand why He hasn’t intervened the way we thought He would. But we can be assured that He is in control and He will come through for us at just the right time…His time.
The very first words in Psalm 118 are these: “O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness endures forever.” I guess the psalmist wanted to make sure to praise God first because he was about to give a personal testimony of just how God had delivered him from his distress.
Psalm 57 gives God glory on a similar line. It says, “I will praise and give thanks to You, O Lord, among the people; I will sing praises to You among the nations. David had certainly praised God for His mighty works on his behalf, but he wanted to let everyone else know, too. He purposed that he would praise God among the people, even the nations. And as king, I’m sure he had that opportunity. He gave God glory.
Psalm 57 has been one of my life scriptures. I go back to it often. It reminds me to give testimony of all the goodness of God in my life. And, although I praise Him privately, I want to praise Him publicly, too, “among the people”.
Let’s share our testimonies of the greatness of God to us. People need to see what God is doing right now in the lives of His people. We can let them know that God is still active and still working miracles today. Testimonies are not just from thousands of years ago or hundreds of years ago. They are still in progress. Because the work of God is still in progress!
The testimonies of people who really know God and have seen His miracles and deliverance in their lives can be powerful. Be assured, God is still in the business of bringing His people out of distress and setting them in a “large place”. He didn’t stop caring for us once the first members of the early Church passed away. He is at work in us now if we will trust Him. If we will call upon Him. I have heard many people give their testimony of how God has worked in their lives recently. He has worked in my life, too!
A testimony is a statement made to establish a fact. When we let other people know what God has done, we are stating facts of true life happenings that glorify God.
I recently heard the testimony of one who heard the voice of God about a certain dream they had to reach children. In God’s time and in His way, He brought it to pass. I know of two testimonies where God has walked with people through cancer and both received good reports, regardless of the odds against them.
What is your testimony? What has God done for you? Don’t keep it to yourself. Make your statement to establish the facts of His glorious working on your behalf. Let His glory be seen in your life, and give testimony “among the people”! When you let people see God at work in you now, you are introducing them to the God Who was, Who is, and Who is to come. When we fail to show Him to others, they consider Him to be archaic and no longer active. That is far from the truth! Let your distress be used to prove the goodness, majesty and love of God.
The worst distress any human can have is distress of soul because they are held captive in the bondage of sin. The greatest need of the human soul is to find freedom that will disentangle them from the snare of Satan. Satan’s path leads to destruction. Only Jesus can set us free from that distress. And the good news is that He is not only able, but is willing to do just that. Jesus will break the snare of bondage and set us in a “large place”, our own place in His kingdom where there is true freedom forever. Repent of your sins, surrender your will to His will and follow Jesus. There is freedom in surrendering to Him. I can give testimony to that!