Monday, December 9, 2013

They cried out to the Lord

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Psalm 107 starts out with, Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south

When we are going through the inevitable storms of life it is good to remember how God has helped us in the past. Our testimony of God's help is a mighty weapon against the enemy who would like to weigh us down with stress, despair and hopelessness. I think we must we remember to give thank not only for the great and wonderful stuff but also for the difficult things. It is in the difficulties that we face that we are stretched and shaped. It takes fire and heat to refine gold. It takes and obnoxious grain of sand in an oyster to make a pearl. Not that we need to go out looking for difficulties because there are plenty enough to be found just in the normal course of life. 

The following 40 verse of Psalm 107 shares some of the kind of stories that we might find our selves telling at various points in our lives. Verses 4- 6 "Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away." Sound pretty bad thankfully the Psalm tells us what the people did in the following verse. "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

I know as a church we are dealing with the uncertainty of selling our building and finding God's will for our next step. At times it seems like an unbelievably daunting task. I question if we are even up to it as a people. Will we be able to get on the same page as a group of people and walk in a greater level of unity. Not that we must agree on every point. Walking in unity is filled with give and take as we try to together determine God's will and plan for us as a people. I could spend massive amounts of time fretting about it. I could toss and turn at night and drench my pillow with tears. I could try to base a solution on the combine strengths of us as a people. If that is how I am trying to navigate I have made it far too difficult. We have to stop trying by our own feeble might and power and look to our God who says His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in our weakness. 

Starting in verse 10 is yet another story. "Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains, because they rebelled against God’s commands
and despised the plans of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help."  This sounds like a lot of our people who are prisoners to poverty, mental illness, depression or addiction. I am so glad we have started Celebrate Recovery. We prayed a long time for someone like Bob to come along and run with such a ministry. How does this passage end? Much like the previous story.  
"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress." 

Here's another story. "Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end." Perhaps you are at your wit's end. You thought you had things handled and then a mighty storm has arisen that threatens to pummel away your last bit of hope and faith. Good stories always have a seemingly impossible problem that must be over come. It always looks hopeless but some how courage rises and unlikely hero's must learn to walk together. Its the climax of the story that is followed by a resolution. Here's how this sea swept story ends according to Psalm 107 starting in verse 28 "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed."  

Are you starting to see a pattern in these stories? What ever you are facing remember to give thanks and to cry out to the Lord. He waits for us to realize that we need His help. He desire to be our first rather than our last resort. Don't forget how powerful and faith building it is when we share our stories of what God has done before as we journey together into the unknown.