"Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer." Psalm 4:1 (NIV)
Though I looked okay on the outside, inside I was screaming and flailing about.
I was stressed, anxious, worried and overwhelmed. I felt like something was pressing in on me, pushing me down emotionally and preventing me from escaping my situation. The more these feelings built up, the more I wanted to lash out, strike out, or push back against my burdens.
Outside I looked fine; inside I was a mess.
Do you ever feel this way? Stress comes at all of us every day, in a thousand different ways. Kid stress, job stress, money stress, house stress, and medical stress, relationship stress — the list goes on and on. Try as we might, we can't escape it in this broken world. We feel trapped and imprisoned by these things we cannot change, and they weigh heavily on us.
When I read our verse for today, I was struck by the explanation in my Bible for the word, "relief." It literally means, "make room for me in tight places." Wow. I can totally identify with that idea!
I know what it feels like to want someone to come along and make room for me in my tight places. To remove the boundaries and burdens which threaten to smother me with their nearness.
My stress level mounts, my blood pumps in my ears, and my hope takes flight. Whether it is the little irritations in life like being trapped in a car with a screaming toddler, or the big burdens of wondering about the future of my husband's job, I know those tight places all too intimately.
We all do.
I love that Psalm 4:1 reminds us there is Someone who can come and offer relief. So many times, we try to make our own space in our tight places — handling things independently and attempting to solve problems without ever calling on the One who best knows how to make room for us.
God is faithful to give us emotional elbow room, easing our burdens and offering us His wisdom. He shows us mercy when we call on Him, hearing our prayers and rescuing us from tight places.
The next time you feel stressed, anxious, worried or overwhelmed, call out to God, and let Him find you in your tight place, making room where you thought there was none.
Dear Lord, thank You for being the God who is near. When my tight places press in on me, Your presence is what I need. Thank You for offering me relief no matter what my circumstances. Help me remember to call on You in my tight places. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
By Marybeth Whalen