Distress factors

Overcoming Distresses

    Distress is defined as having great pain, anxiety, sorrow, affliction, suffering, or trouble.  People who are in distress often have great difficulty looking at the issues of their lives.  They either bounce around all over the place or bury themselves in in some addiction.  However, there is another way to respond.

Jesus declared, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world"  (John 16:33). 
Psalm 107:1-43

   "O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.    Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;    And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.    They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.    Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.    Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.    And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation"  (Psalms 107:1-7).

    "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!    For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.    Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;    Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:    Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.    Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.    He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder"  (Psalms 107:8-14).

    "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!    For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.    Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.    Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.    Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.    He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions"  (Psalms 107:15-20).

    "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!    And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.    They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;    These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.    For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.    They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.    They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end.    Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.    He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.    Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven"  (Psalms 107:21-30).

    "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!    Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.    He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground;    A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.    He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.    And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;    And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.    He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.    Again, they are minished [literally = made to be small] and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.    He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.    Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.    The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.    Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD"  (Psalms 107:31-43).


I. You will note that there are FIVE stanzas to this Psalm.  Five is the symbolic number for God's GRACE. We, as Believers, have GRACE that we might receive the GOODNESS of God which we do not deserve.

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).
II. You should note that each stanza begins with THANKSGIVING or PRAISE.  Thanksgiving and praise are always moves in the right direction to overcome DISTRESSES.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2).

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (II Corinthians 12:10).

III. You should note that each stanza addresses different types of individuals (all conclusive).
A. The first stanza addresses those who have doubted and rejected the promises of God.  It alludes to when the twelve spies came back from promised land.  The result was no one, except Joshua and Caleb, over the age of 20 was allowed to enter the promised land (Numbers 14:29).  Everyone had to wander in the wilderness for forty years until the older generation died off.

B. The second stanza addresses those who have rebelled against God's words and despised the counsel of God.

C. The third stanza is written to those who are fools because of their transgression and iniquity.

D. The fourth stanza is written to those who are business conscious individuals, the rich.  (Theses are those who make business an idol such as some in stock market and some ".com" individuals).

E. The fifth stanza addresses those who are victims, the poor.  These are the ones who are attacked by the enemy.

IV. You should see that God is ultimately in control in each case.
"I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.  The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.   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" (Psalm 18:1-6).

Notes:  David gives nine characteristics of God in his profession of faith:

1. My Strength.
2. My Rock (a foundation upon which to stand).
3. My Fortress (a stronghold from the enemy).
4. My Deliverer (the One who takes out of the hands of the enemy).
5. My God (El = the mighty one).
6. My Strength (different Hebrew word meaning cliff or wall of rock).
7. My Buckler (a round target shield).
8. The Horn of my salvation (the horn symbolizing power ... the one who saves with great power).
9. My High Tower (a place above and out of reach from the enemy).
Note: David said that he would do three things.  He said that he would love the LORD (Yahweh), that he would trust Him, and that he would call upon Him.  David called upon the LORD and cried out in his distress and God heard his prayer.
V. God saves us from our distresses when we honestly "cry out" to God for help. (EXAMPLES:)
A. Jacob = "Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went" (Genesis 35:2-3).
B. David = "In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears" (II Samuel 22:7). "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" (Psalms 18:6). "I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place"  (Psalms 118:5). "In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me" (Psalms 120:1). "And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress"  (I Kings 1:29).

C. Jonah = "And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice" (Jonah 2:2).


1. Distress CANNOT separate us from God's love.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:35).    Note: The obvious answer is, "NO".
2. Distress is not the ultimate issue, but the major issue is what we do with it.
"But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" (II Corinthians 6:4-10).
3. We should also consider joining ourselves to someone who will lead us to overcome distress.
"David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him.   And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men" (I Samuel 22:1-2).
4. God won't answer the unrepentant when they cry in their distress.
"I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.  Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:  For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD" (Proverbs 1:26-29).
5. Those who refuse to repent in their distress will fall deeper into sin.
"For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not.  And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz" (II Chronicles 28:21-22).
6. David gives us a prayer of crying out in distress.
"The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.  O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles" (Psalms 25:17-22).
7. We should encourage ourselves in the Lord in time of distress.
"And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God" (I Samuel 30:6).
8. When we walk though Distress, then Detachment from self, but come to a Dependence upon God, we enter into Kingdom Living.
 "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3).

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