Our Help in Distress (Psalm 120:1) - Radical

Our Help in Distress (Psalm 120:1)

“In my distress, I called to the Lord and he answered me.”
(Psalm 120:1)

This is such a simple, powerful reality expressed in one verse. That when we are in distress, when we walk through trial, when we need help, which let’s just put it out there, we all need help all the time, like all the time we need help. The reality is God has made us dependent creatures. God has made us people who need help. This isn’t just a result of sin in the world, a result of the fall of man and woman. This is the way we were created from the very beginning. Before sin ever entered the world, we were created with a need for God, and a need for others.

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.”

This is what we see in Genesis 1 and 2, we need help. You and I need help to breathe today, we can’t breathe on our own. God has to give us that help. We need His provision in water and food. We need His provision in community around us. It’s not good for us to be alone. That was before sin ever entered the world so we need help. What that means is we always find ourselves in help, period, in life. And then, at particular times, we find ourself in what Psalm 120 describes as distress.

I think about a conversation I was just having with someone in distress that doesn’t know what to do, and is hurting, and needs help. For that person to know, for any one of us whenever we find ourselves in that situation that we can call to the Lord and He will answer us. I’m guessing all of us know what it’s like to be in distress, and to call out for help, and there not be somebody there to help us. I think about times when I really needed something, and I’ve called out somebody who I know could help me and I couldn’t get a hold of them. And it was so frustrating. If I could just get a hold of them, then I could have the help I needed, but not being able to get hold of them was really, really discouraging.

Well, the picture here in Psalm 120 is not a Psalm who is saying, in my distress I called to the Lord and he ignored me or he wasn’t available. The Bible never says that. “In my distress I called to the Lord and he answered me.” Now let’s be clear, He doesn’t always answer us in the way we think we need, or even we always would like, but He always answers the way the most perfect, loving, heavenly Father would answer. And that, in the end, is better than what we would like, or what we think we need.

We can know when we call out to God, He is a perfect, loving, heavenly Father who never ignores us. He never ignores His children. For all who are in Christ, you are never ignored by God and He never says, “I don’t have time for you.” Or, “I don’t have time to get to this.” Or, “I’m not available to you.” We can approach his throne of grace any time we have need. We should approach His throne of grace every time we have need because Psalm 120 verse 1 is a reality. In our distress, we call to the Lord and He will answer us.

So God, I pray right now for this person who’s in distress that I was just talking with, and for people who are listening right now who are in distress in all kinds of different ways. God hear their calls to you. Hear our calls to You right now for help, for wisdom, for strength, for faith, for hope in the middle of despair, for joy in the middle of pain. For just all these good things that come from You that they need right now, that we need in the middle of distress. God, we call to You, and we pray that You would answer. And we trust You will answer. We trust You’ll answer with Your wisdom according to Your riches and Your timing for our good and for Your glory.

We praise you for this reality that we never call out to You and can’t get a hold of You. That we never call out to You and You say You don’t have time for us. We praise You that You are always accessible to us, that You always hear our every cry. At every moment in every distress You hear us, and not just You hear us, You answer us. All glory be to You, oh God, the One who has all power in all the universe, all love in all the universe, who hears and answers our cries. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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