Andy Hollifield 5-17-18
Nehemiah 2:17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.
Psalms 18:6 In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; (9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Distress—-great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble. 2) a state of extreme necessity or misfortune. 3) that which causes pain, suffering, trouble, danger, etc…
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed.” Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” The reason we are not distressed is simply because we have the Lord for our hope. We don’t just have hope in him, he is our hope. Hope is not only “the feeling that what is wanted can be had and that events will turn out for the best” but it is also defined as “a person or thing in which expectations are centered.” That is who our God is. Psalms 33:18 says, “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.” Just knowing that the Lord has his eye on us should be great cause for hope.
The word “distress” is used 33 times in the bible and “distressed” is used only 11 times. The word “hope” is used 129 times. With that being said, which one does the Lord put more emphasis on, distress or hope? “Hope” is used almost 4 times as often as “distress” and almost 12 times as often as “distressed.” Sounds a little bit ridiculous for us to allow ourselves to be distressed when we have as much hope as what we do. Job, who once said that his days were spent without hope and had good cause to be distressed, used the word “hope” 16 times. It is used 22 times in the book of Psalms talking about the Lord and his word being our hope. Isaiah described the Lord in chapter 25 verse 4 saying, “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” With a God like that, how can we stay in distress?
I know that we are all human, made out of the same dust, and all of us without exception are subject to getting in distress. We have all seen the times when circumstances concerning yourself or others look seemingly hopeless. The Lord has been described in the book of Psalms alone as our shield, our glory, the lifter up of mine head, our strength, our help, our buckler, a sun, our hiding place, our goodness, our fortress, our high tower, our deliverer, he in whom we trust, he who subdueth people, our refuge, a very present help in time of trouble, our rock, our defence, and our portion just to name a few. With a God that strong, what do we possibly have to be distressed about? The verse above in Isaiah 25 should be enough to give us hope. What a mighty God we serve!
None of us are “up” all the time. Satan wouldn’t be doing his job if he wasn’t afflicting us. But, the thing to remember is this; Satan can’t overcome the Lord. He has always tried and failed numerous times throughout history. He couldn’t tempt the Lord into sin and he couldn’t keep him from the cross. He couldn’t keep him from the grave and he definitely couldn’t keep him from the resurrection. He couldn’t keep him from ascending, and he cannot keep him from coming back to get those that have been born again. He couldn’t overthrow God from his throne, and he can’t keep us from getting to the Lord unless we allow him too. James 4:7 tells us that if we will resist the devil, he will flee from us.
We may have trouble on every side and we do. Nation against nation and children against parents. It is enough to make you wonder how long God will withhold his judgment from a world gone crazy. But we have a God that is all-knowing, all-seeing, and always everywhere at the same time. Why should we be distressed? Just as the scripture in Nehemiah 2:18 says, even in all of the distresses Nehemiah and the Jews were in; “the hand of my God which was good upon me.” You may have faced some trouble and tragedy and hard times in general but there is one thing for sure; you will never face anything that God can’t handle if you submit yourself to him. I hope this has been a help to someone. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 5-17-18