Our Quiet Refuge

The last time we were together I encouraged you not to become overly distressed due to the many external noises and distractions so prevalent in our connected world. As followers of Jesus we are to be examples of good citizenship and calm reason in the midst of a world which seems to panic over relatively minor events.

But what about those things which distress us which do not originate externally but from within? What about that inner crisis we often find ourselves losing sleep over and expending unnecessary time and energy trying to understand, confront and resolve? These matters are often real and important, but are we handling things in a way which demonstrates our faith and confidence in God or are we unnecessarily distressed?

I recently found myself in one of those situations. I was consumed with an issue which was both real and important and for which I didn’t have an adequate solution. But this matter didn’t present a clear-cut path to resolution and so I found myself fretting and mentally churning over what to do. I was distressed, I was losing sleep, I felt somewhat isolated, and I was imagining outcomes which had not happened and which may not ever happen. Inner distress will affect us that way; I know because I’ve felt that way before and, unfortunately, I expect I will feel that way again.

And what I have just described is not unfamiliar to you. Every one of us has been in similar circumstances. Some of us are in the middle of one of those seasons today. It’s disconcerting, frustrating and even disappointing because we know that God is in control but we struggle with faith and trust and discerning what is God’s part and what is our own.

So, today, let’s look at what the Bible has to say about being overly distressed.

King David recorded many of his prayers and intimate thoughts in his collection of Psalms. He opened his heart about many of the struggles common to all of us and how he dealt with them. Let’s consider some of what he had to say.

Psalm 4:1-5
1 Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.
4 Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord.

Key points:

  • God has set us apart as His children
  • He always hears us when we call upon Him

Psalm 18:1-6, 16-19
1 I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.
6 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.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Key points:

  • We should fortify our faith by reminding ourselves of God’s greatness
  • We should be quick to call upon the Lord
  • God responds to our earnest prayers

Psalm 25:12-21
12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
13 They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.

Key points:

  • We should keep our eyes upon the Lord
  • Our safety and refuge is in God

Psalm 118:1-9
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
2 Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.”
5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place.
6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

Key points:

  • Thanksgiving is appropriate in every circumstance and season of life
  • The presence of God dispels fear
  • People will fail
  • Governments and powers will fail
  • God will never fail

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