Pastor Jack Lanza has darn good timing! Of course, it’s God’s timing… We’ve heard about a cause of action, a legal claim for damages possibly, called “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” This is a common form of cruelty or method for control by perpetrators of abuse, so I thought it was a good time to share what Jack Lanza sent to me:
Are You In Distress Today?
When we are in distress we pray genuinely, seeking forgiveness, promise to quit all sin & beg for mercy and protection. Why do we then forget?
If you look up the word “distress” in the Greek it means: confinement, disability, trouble, anguish, oppress, to cramp, to harass, opponent, rival, bad, evil, constraint, calamity, anxiety, burdened.
Strongs Concordance Greek: Thilipsis – properly, pressure (what constricts or rubs together), used of a narrow place that “hems someone in,” tribulation, especially internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape” (hemmed in”).
1. To pain means to afflict with pain or anguish, applied to body or mind. Literally, to press or strain.
2. To afflict greatly; to harass, to oppress with calamity, to make miserable.
Listen to Paul’s words in (2 Corinthians 7:8-10 Message)
I know I distressed you greatly by my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for awhile. Now I’m glad – not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him.
The result was – all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those that let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.
Could God be using your distress as a chisel slowly chipping away rough areas in your life that you may be more pliable to His plans, rather than yours? Then please, submit to your divine sculptor and wait in expectation of the great unveiling when its over! (For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT)
If your situation has forced you to run in the wrong direction now is the time to turn it around and run into the hands of the only one who can help, forgive, accept, heal, restore, and love you. Often times in a situation we have regrets. The writer calls attention to it above. Those regrets can drive us away from God if we are not careful, and smother our minds with stinking thinking, the end result is a deathbed of regrets.
Most of the time regret is the product of creative thinking and excessive guilt, rather than a godly remorse. As long as we live, we will have setbacks and missed opportunities; and we will make tons of mistakes along the way. If the way you see things are pessimistic – meaning , you only see a glass half – empty instead of half full – there will be no shortage of reasons for you to regret. Regret is rehearsal. By regretting sin, you are rehearsing it in your mind, reinforcing the memory. What you think will become what you are, you will get stuck with the sin you regret. So stop it!
Trust God in your distress. Why? He sees the big picture and is actually preparing you for destiny. He knows what your future holds, so do not let your distress rattle your faith in what he is doing. He is not obligated to tell us what he is doing in our lives all the time. He is God not us.
“Look outward and be distressed, Look inward and be depressed, look upward and be at peace.”
(Corrie Ten Boom)
So what’s it going to be, Outward, Inward, or Upward?
This amazing performer summed it up with this song and video.
“Where trouble drops like lemon drops,” meaning trouble is common but we do not need to be common in our response.