Timothy Vaughn - Distress

195, "Lord, We Rest In Peace Abiding"

In this hymn we sang, “There is healing for our sorrow.” There is healing in Thy wings. “There is hope for each tomorrow.” So, there is hope for our sorrow, hope for tomorrow. Distress happens. Am going to talk about “distress,” but I do not want this to be a distressing meeting. Distress happens. How do you rightly cope with and in a distressing situation? There is a tendency to panic and then make wrong decisions. God knows there will be distressing times. There is hope for each tomorrow, healing under His wings.

I Samuel 1, Hannah had been distressed for a long time. Hannah’s husband had two wives: Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah had no children, Peninnah had lots. Now one could imagine what Hannah went through. Peninnah would provoke Hannah and maybe even with a smile say, “You have no children.” She maybe even added, "If you would do the will of God, you will have children because you know that is what God has promised." Hannah was so distressed, such a distressing situation! Why would God allow such a despicable behavior? Hannah was so distressed that she prayed to give her child to God. Maybe it wasn’t that she was so distressed about having no child, but that she wanted to be approved of God. Not a selfish prayer, but just to be approved. Verse 17, What to do: believe what the priest said. In a distressing situation, we need to believe that God can and will do and give to us. Distress can also lead us to deeper sacrifice. Hannah’s husband was a wonderful husband. He said to Hannah, "You do whatever it is you need to do." He sacrificed, too. (I’ll just add here, when marrying, ask yourself, "Would this person encourage me to sacrifice to the Lord?")   I Samuel 2:1, now there was rejoicing for Hannah because she did right in a distressing situation. I Samuel 2:22-23, here are Eli’s, the priest, sons causing distress. They were doing what is not right but they were ones that should know what is right. Do not be the one who is the cause of distress.

In our field, just before we left to go to conventions – two ladies, who go to the same meeting are upset at one another – a distressing situation. Anyway, while we are gone, one decided to go to another meeting and the other is going to take a vacation. So, when they come back, we do not know what will be the outcome. What should we do for this distressing situation? Should we get a wrong spirit in a distressing situation? In a distressed meeting? Or then would some stop coming to the meeting? That is not the way to handle distress. True, we do not expect distressing situations at meeting. Think of Hannah and her husband, they went yearly to sacrifice even though Hannah was so distressed. They handled distress in a very good way. Do not handle distress by a wrong spirit or by stopping going to meeting. Remember: God is so concerned about it all and God will bring about what is right!

God allowed an enemy to take the ark and it resulted in the death of Eli and his sons, who caused distress. They brought this on themselves and now the Children of Israel were distressed. A distressing situation, the ark is gone. I Samuel 7:3, Samuel, Hannah’s first-born son, comes into the picture. He told the people what they could do in this distressing time. He told them to return unto the Lord, put away strange gods etc.. They had to do something themselves first. In distress, do we lust or covet or desire after the world instead of going to God? Put those things away first. Distress happens, distressing things will happen.

I Samuel 7:10, like the thunder, we do not have to be distressed about it. Here the thunder helped in aiding them to smite their enemy. Now another distressing situation, I Samuel 8:5-6, Samuel was distressed. The people told Samuel that his children did not walk with God and that they wanted a king to rule them. There is an enemy here, the Children of Israel wanted a king, so they used Samuel’s sons as an excuse. Verse 6, Samuel prayed – to pray is a good thing to do when distressed. Why was Samuel distressed, because Samuel prayed and God answered? Verse 7, God told Samuel, “It is not because they have rejected you, but they have rejected Me.” It is hard to take rejection, do not be taking things too personal. The Lord can and will help us with those kinds of things.

Will tell you of a good, good friend I had. It has been 25 years since seeing her and she lives near here, so being nearby, I felt I would love to visit her and see her again. I called her when I arrived here and she did not want to see me. It is still hard today to take that rejection, but I cannot take that rejection personally. In a distressing situation, don’t take it personally!

Think of distress as there to help you know that so much is serious. Distress could be there to wake us up maybe.

I Samuel 12:22, we do not have a forsaking God. There can be a message in distress for us. 13:5-10 tells us of another serious distressing problem.. A large number of Philistines were coming against Israel to fight. Saul had called for Samuel and he was supposed to come. King Saul was so distressed and in a way, he had all reason to be distressed. King Saul knew the enemy was coming and he would have felt a lack of support, for Samuel was supposed to be there and he was not there. Saul probably felt, Samuel is not keeping his word, he is adding to this already distressing situation. So, King Saul, in this distressing situation, went and left his place and offered the burnt offering, something that only the priest was supposed to do, not him.

Samuel came and said to Saul, “Thou hast done foolishly.” It is never right to leave our place in a distressing situation. Do not react wrong in a distressed situation.

I Samuel 14:14, this seemed a victory but it was really a great defeat for Saul. Verse 24 says the men of Israel were distressed, why? Because now King Saul took it upon himself to make a rule. His rule was that they were to eat no food until evening. Verse 25, when they came to the forest, there was honey upon the ground, provision, but the people did not partake of it, thus they became faint. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, had not heard about his dad’s rule and when he saw the honey, he partook of it and was enlightened. Verse 30, think of how much greater the slaughter could have been had they partook of the provision provided in this distressing situation.

I Samuel 16:1, a distressing situation here, Samuel mourning Saul’s errors. God said to Samuel, “How long wilt thou mourn for Saul?” There was a sister worker who just got home for her home visit from another country, when her sister, who did not serve God, died. A distressing situation for this sister worker. She spoke at the funeral and she said, “Grief if not meant to paralyze us, but we need to go forth and give even more to and for this Kingdom..” How long will you mourn? The Lord told Samuel, "Fill thine horn with oil and go and anoint a new king I have provided, etc." There is plenty to do, lots to do. When distressed, get busy in the Lord’s work.

I Samuel 17:11, Goliath was not causing the distress here – it was their lack of faith that caused them distress. They kept mentioning the armies, but what about the armies of Heaven and all the angels on their side? The people told David that he was not able. David would know, "Yes, I am not able, but the Lord is." Saul was not going out himself to meet Goliath, but he gives his armor. David, in his wisdom, knew that in a distressing situation you do not face the enemy with the same weapons that the enemy has. 

I Samuel 18:6-9, after a distressing situation, the women came out and did a very unwise thing that caused David more distress. They sang a song singing that Saul hast slain his thousands but David his ten thousands. This caused Saul to want to kill David.

I Samuel 22:1-2, David hid in caves escaping Saul. David was the anointed, but the rejected, like Jesus. All that were distressed went to David. David was an answer to them, not in a natural comfort, but a comfort for the soul, like Jesus. It was David’s goal to do God’s desires for him. A definite goal will help keep distress down. Handle distress in a wise way.

I Samuel 30:6, David was greatly distressed. The enemy had attacked the wives and children of David and his men. David was blamed and the men were planning to stone David. This is not nice, but they responded humanly in their distress, "It is your fault, David, you should have been there." In this distress, David didn’t answer them, but he encouraged himself in the Lord. This is a good thing to do when in distress – encourage yourself in the Lord. Be silent and go to God in distress. There is healing for our sorrow – hope for each tomorrow! There are good ways to handle distress:

Pray, when distressed.

Sacrifice deeper when distressed.

Keep going to meeting if distressed.

Return to God when distressed.

Do not stop offering when distressed.

Stay in your place if distressed.

Have a definite goal when distressed.

Do not take it personally when distressed.

Keep silent in distress.

Get busy in the Lord’s work when distressed.

Do not cause more distress when distressed.

Believe God when distressed.