Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

(Psalm 118:5-6)

Today I’m reading: Ephesians 1:11-22

Distressed? Sorrowful? Anxious? Fearful?

Ashamed? If you’re a Christian, that is highly likely. Negative emotions often are seen as sinful and shameful. We resist them and we should certainly not allow them to control us. But some of us, myself included, have a tendency to stuff them down in the heart, resulting in more vague stress in an already go-go-go world. God wants us today to call on him. He wants to reach out, acknowledge the feelings we keep busy to hide from, to ask his help in our distress rather than pretending we’ve got it altogether.

When we do, he will answer and set us free. Perhaps not from the circumstances distressing us, but from our distress itself. The path to peace is acknowledging the pain, trusting the Lord is on our side and wants the best for us. By grace, he will turn our eyes off our troubles to eternity. No matter what happens here, our eternal fate is secure in  Him.

What can man do to me? Plenty, we are tempted to say. And it’s true. In this life, pleasing a man can mean the difference between getting the job or getting fired, getting published or washing up. But this life is temporary. And God operates on an entirely different economy, is looking for totally different things before the judgment seat that will determine our ultimate success or failure.  What is a reward here and a failure here can be entirely opposite what will “get us ahead” in His kingdom. And the further away our civilization slides from its Christian foundations, the more lukewarm and worldly even much of the Church grows, the more and more that choice between temporary success and heavenly rewards will sadly grow.

Today let us shift our minds off how the world judges us and seek again solely to please Him, solely to know His will, with the blinders off that inevitably come when we’re focusing on the demands the world places upon us, including even the seemingly innocuous Christian world. So often we assume what others tell us we “should” do is what God would have us do. Let us not assume anything. Rather let us call out to him and allow him to bring to mind the truth that sets us free.

Thank you, Lord, for each precious soul reading this, even it be but a few. God of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of Glory, I pray you would give each one a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of you. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we may know the hope to which we are called. Amen.