I Cried Out In My Distress
by Marc Hays
I have a friend named Gary, whom everyone calls “Bubba”. Someone from somewhere else may snicker at the stereotypical baggage of this nickname, but around here it is not altogether uncommon for this childhood nickname to stick and become your “handle” for life. Bubba was born 29 years ago and born again 3 years ago. When he was born the first time, he was born with spina bifida. It has negatively affected his gait, his speech, his balance, his sight, his height, and a myriad other less obvious things. When he was born the second time, Bubba gave all his broken parts to Jesus Christ, his faithful Savior redeemed them, and has been building a kingdom with every one of those broken parts ever since.
So, what do you do when your friend, who is already afflicted with spina bifida, develops a tumor on his pituitary gland that could have severe, adverse effects on his already partially crippled body? What do you do when you find out that the surgery can create as many problems as it solves? What do you do when you’re overwhelmed by your inability to do anything to help?
What do you do? You remember that your inability to cure diseases does not mean that there’s nothing you can do. You remember some men who brought their friend to lay him before Jesus, and you remember the Savior who saw their faith and forgave the man’s sins. You remember the “blasphemous” Messiah, who said “your sins are forgiven,” as well as “rise up, pick up your bed and go home.” (Mt. 9, Lk. 5) You remember that those friends were men like Elijah, who was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” (Js. 5:17-18) You remember that this passage in James is in the context of “Is anyone among you sick?” (Js. 5:14)
What do you do? You cry out in your distress. “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” (Ps. 18:6) You cry out in distress to the One who cried out in His distress, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” The One who was poured out like water and whose bones were out of joint, whose heart was melted within His chest (Ps 22:14), cried out forsaken, knowing that God has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.” (Ps. 22:24) On a bed flooded with tears and a couch drenched with weeping (Ps. 6:6) you cry out on behalf of your friend. You cry out to the One who himself cried out at the tomb of his dead friend (Jn. 11:35) and whose soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death, while asking that that cup would pass from him. (Mt. 26:36)
What do you do? In your distress, you bring your friend to Jesus, remembering that the Great Physician did not come to the healthy and whole, but to the sick and broken. You bring your friend to Jesus remembering that the Great Physician is also the Judge of all the earth, who does not become angry at His people asking, “just one more request Lord.” (Gen 18:32) You remember that when Jesus, the Judge of all the earth, was praying at a certain place, one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
‘Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’
And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:1-13, ESV)
So, what do you do? You pray. You ask friends to pray, knowing there’s multitudes of Christians around the globe who are also righteous men like Elijah, whose effectual, fervent prayers avail much. You may even use your blog to take this prayer request global.
Bubba’s surgery is at the end of June. Please pray.