“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)
Psalm 118 falls right before Psalm 119’s sometimes unappreciated, lengthy serenade to the law’s beauty and virtues. In 118, the psalmist urges his audience to give thanks to the Lord because he is good and his love is steadfast. To these reasons, the psalmist adds his personal testimony: he was either troubled internally by mental or physical pain or suffering or he was in an external state of danger or desperate need, per the meaning of distress. He prayed to God for help, God answered him by freeing him from whatever was causing his distress.
Here he turns from past tense to present tense: the Lord is on his side. He will not fear now what men can do to him, he knows God is in control. This switch is implying that the psalmist is one again in difficult times; he is confident because he has past experience with God. He remembers what God has done for him in the past and trusts God to do what he has always done before.
Faith and trust in God grow over time, with each blind leap and each instance of God doing what he promised in His word. If you are young in the Lord and have not many personal experiences, you can still make that leap with confidence based upon His peoples testimonies, if you trust in the accuracy of the bible (there are ministries who can feed your intellect with proofs of this) and also through the testimonies of your living brothers and sisters in Christ today.
God is not a respecter of persons, beloved. He does not play favorites with his children. If you are His, and you know for a fact what God has done for His people in your situation, he will do it for you, too. Maybe not the exact same way, or with the exact same timing, but if you draw near to him and place your life and your situation wholly into his hands, daring to trust him completely, taking refuge in Him and His work in your life, he will deliver you and bring you through this, if not out of it. Even if we do face the pain of death, if we continue on with God, even in death, he will set us free forever.
Lord, forgive us for the times we have forgotten what you have done. Strengthen us today, remind us of what you have done in our lives and in our brothers and sisters’ lives in similar situations. Increase our faith. May we trust in you and your declarations over us, not the threats of men. Give us thankful hearts that praise you for who you are and what you do. Deliver us from fear and all emotional distress this day. In Jesus name we pray, amen.