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He Raises the Needy Out of Affliction

Jan 24, 2016 02:41AM ● By Bonnie Lyn Smith

He Raises the Needy Out of Affliction!

Oh boy! Did that title catch your eye?

I hope it did! I think we all qualify as “the needy” from time to time. I certainly have!

It can (but does not necessarily) mean financial need, but it can also be emotional, medical, physical, spiritual, etc.

How are you “needy” today? Is everything copacetic? Nothing to complain about?

On one hand, if that’s true, I celebrate with you, but on the other hand, to some extent, we all have needs, so if we claim that, we are, well, um, kidding ourselves!

We may not be desperate right now, but there are a few things on our wish list. How could there not be?
  • God, please heal my child of this disease, this disability, this behavior.
  • Jesus, my marriage is a wreck. We are just, well—disconnected. Is he having an affair?
  • Lord, wow, I am really scared about my bills this month. What if they turn the heat off? It’s 20 degrees outside this week.
  • My child is hanging with the wrong set of friends and making bad choices. I need him to turn his life around.  
  • I’m really scared my daughter is going to marry that guy. He’s not good for her.
  • My car is about to die, and I don’t have the money for another one right now.
  • I am being asked to do something dishonest at work, or I could lose my job. I need a way out of this.
  • I can’t get him to stop drinking.
  • I found porn on the computer and am not sure how to confront my family members.
  • I need more than that prescription is covering to manage my pain. I think I may be dependent.
  • Oh my goodness, I really miss him. Why did he have to die so young?
  • What if I never get pregnant? Will my husband still love me?
  • I forged a check once, and the law caught up with me. Now I’m afraid I’ll lose everything.
You get the idea.

Here’s the thing. God wants us to call out to Him, and He very much wants to deliver us from our affliction, but:

Is calling out enough?

Let’s see what King David seems to say about this in Psalm 107.

Psalm 107:39-43, ESV, King David speaking

When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow, 

he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes;

but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.

The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

I don’t know about you, but “all wickedness shuts its mouth” sounds like a good deal to me! I want a front row seat to that moment!

One part that strikes me is the “when” and not the “if” in this statement:

When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow…

I am not fond of that word “when” because it suggests something inevitable. We can expect it. We will be “diminished” and “brought low.”

Yeah, not fun. No matter what cloud of happiness we are now riding on, gliding through our days distracted and light-hearted, difficult times will come.

Oppression, evil, sorrow. Know any? It might not be touching your life right now, but it sure is all over the news. Sooner or later, that betrayal, devastation, loss, worry, sickness, violence, or broken relationship will happen.

Some of us will cry out to God. 

Some of us won’t.

Will He incline His ear toward us? Will He hear? 

One thing is for sure: It is in our best interest to pay attention and to remember the steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord. Who else is going to bring us rescue, hope, salvation, and an ongoing attentiveness to our needs?

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

Backing up a bit, let’s go to an earlier part of the same Psalm.

Psalm 107:9-13

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons,

for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.

So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

First we see that “needy” can also be a “longing/hungry soul.” The Bible states that God satisfies that hunger. That’s a promise.

But it also takes us through a journey of those who sat in darkness because they had rebelled against God and “spurned” His counsel.

It doesn’t seem that God isn’t listening, but rather He is observing their behavior and awaiting their humility. When they don’t offer it on their own, He arranges it.

See where I’m going with this?

They ended up with hearts bowed, hard labor, fallen selves, and nobody answering their calls for help.

And that is where He often finds us, isn’t it?

We tried to get ourselves out of our personal pits. We called our mother, our uncle, our ex-best friend, and even an enemy, but nobody would take pity on us. Nobody would hear.

And then—then we, like they, “cried out to the Lord in their trouble,”

and he delivered them from their distress.

I conclude from this that He hears us and He longs to answer our cries for relief, but He is waiting for us to stop looking for answers everywhere else and to turn our face in a posture of humility toward Him—one that says:

“I need only You, Lord. Only You.”

If we can do this with our whole hearts, if we can give Him our submission and let Him mold and direct us, He will absolutely raise our needy souls out of our affliction.

But if we’re coming to Him half-heartedly, fickle in our commitment, still trying to solve our own problems, we are simply

not needy enough.

Matthew 5:3, ESV, Jesus’s own words on the Sermon on the Mount

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Is your head bowed low when you call out to your Savior, or do you have your hand dipped in several pools, trying to hedge your bets for your own rescue?

I want the kingdom of heaven. How about you?

Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.

Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.

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