Experience how Psalm 107 can guide us from distress to rest.
Have you ever thought that the stress you are currently facing can actually become strength for you? Sadly, many have not! The stress and pressure from this world, instead of strengthening someone, has taken a toll on them, weakening them emotionally, physically and spiritually. But that does not have to be the case for you. You can actually take the stress you are facing and turn it into a place of strength for you.
Over our 22 years of ministry, we’ve talked with couples trying to manage the reality of a job loss, an unexpected sickness, a rebellious prodigal child, a child confused about their God-given, God designed gender and sexuality, isolation due to a world-wide pandemic and much more. We have talked with couples who have been challenged greatly because they are now homeschool parents, having to work from home, with reduced space and upside down routines. To be sure, there seems to be a lot of stress to go around.
All of these situations and the one(s) you are facing right now, have one thing in common: no one expected it to go this way! Do not be dismayed, you too can turn stress into strength by looking closer at truths found in Psalm 107.
Psalm 107 is a power packed passage of scripture that speaks directly to seasons of stress and distress. In Latin, the prefix “dis” means “away from”. What happens in the stress of life is that it can distress you so much that you “move away” from truth, “move away” from important relationships, “move away” from the Lord and “move away” from health and wellness.
To live in a place of peace and from a place of victory, you must learn how to be “dis”stressed instead of distressed! In other words, you need to know how to be “away from stress” in order to embrace peace!
In Psalm 107, there are at least three distinct places where distress can take place:
- In seasons of wandering caused by lack of clarity and understanding (Psalm 107:4-6).
- In seasons of depression caused by overwhelming worry, lack of fulfillment, purpose and meaning (Psalm 107:10-13).
- In seasons of fear whether fear of the unknown, the future, or failure such that fear overwhelms to the point of stress and anxiety (Psalm 107: 23-28).
By the way, Satan loves all of these. This is why 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to “be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Your adversary, the devil, loves to pounce on you emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually especially during periods of high stress and distress in your life. This is why your choices during seasons of stress and distress are critical.
Psalm 107 also gives you three ways to respond to stress and distress in your life so that your stress can actually become strength:
- Pause and reflect on God’s goodness.
In Psalm 107:1 the Psalmist tells us to “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good”. We encourage you to take a moment, grab a pen and paper and write down the ways God has been good to you. Make a list and then take time in prayer to thank Him. This is a wonderful, spiritual discipline that will reduce stress and raise peace in your life.
Philippians 4:6-8 offers you this plan and this promise: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
- Pause and remember God’s provision.
Psalm 107:2 says “let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.” God is a provisionary God, who redeems, and gathers and restores. Did you notice that He does so in every direction, which means whatever direction your stress, and distress has come from, it is not outside of His reach!
Whatever direction your stress, and distress has come from, it is not outside of His reach!
The apostle Paul knew this when He wrote in Philippians 4:19 “but my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” If you want to move away from stress, then start telling yourself “but my God”! You may not know how things will turn out, “but my God” will supply sufficient grace. You may not know what to do right now, “but my God” will direct your path. You may feel hopeless, wandering, depressed and fearful, “but my God” promises that joy will come in the morning. We encourage you to get into God’s word and dig for his promises of provision for whatever you are facing.
- Pause and rest in God’s love.
Psalm 107:8-9 tells us to “give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love – and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” There is nothing as healing, sustaining and satisfying as the love of God. His love is endless, faithful, long, high, wide and deep (Ephesians 3:14-21). It is in the strength of His love that your stress turns to strength. Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The secret for turning stress into strength is exactly what Jesus said “in me” you may have peace. After all, He is good, He faithfully provides and His love never fails.
Dale & Jena Forehand
Dale and Jena Forehand are the founders of Stained Glass Ministries. They offer conferences and resources to build real relationships. To find out more about their amazing grace story of marriage, divorce and re-marriage to one another visit their website www.daleandjena.com . You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram as @daleandjena