Revive Our Hearts Podcast

He’s with You in the Storm

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says, sometimes you go through a storm so you can get to know Jesus better.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: And when you want Him more than anything else in your life, that's what you'll get. You will get Him. He will deliver you.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Gratitude, for Wednesday, May 29, 2019.

Do you fall apart when you go through times of trouble? Yesterday Nancy began taking us through Psalm 107, showing us how to lean on a faithful God in times of trouble.

She delivered this message at one of the True Woman conferences hosted by Revive Our Hearts. In part one, we looked at a couple different types of people facing trouble. Let's review and then hear part two from Nancy.

Nancy: So we have those who were lost and wandering in the wilderness—hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. We have those who were in prison. Number three: We have those were sick and afflicted. Look at verse 17. "Some were fools because of their sinful ways and because of their iniquities suffered affliction. They loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death."

Here we have a description of intense, debilitating affliction. It may be physical; it may be mental; it may be emotional; for sure it is spiritual. They can't eat, they're at death's door, and realize here these are not victims. These wounds are caused by sinful, foolish choices.

And people, we don't always connect the dots. I'm not saying at all that all sickness is the result of sin. But I will say for sure that some sickness is the result of sin. Some mental torment, some mental illness, some chronic physical ailments. God never created our bodies to be able to hold up under rebelling against the Creator of the universe. He designed our bodies and our minds and our spirits to thrive when we're in submission to Christ.

Now, you look at Joni in a wheelchair for forty-seven years. She'll be the first to testify that it was her foolishness and willful choices that God was speaking to her about when she had that accident. But here's a woman who is walking with the Lord, who loves Him, loves His Word, serves Him. And God says, "I want to keep you in that wheelchair for now."

You see, God is sovereign. You've got to let Him be sovereign. So not all sickness, not all emotional or mental issues are rooted in sin. But sometimes they are. We need to ask, "God, if there are some dots You're trying to connect in my life, please help me see it."

Don't go on a witch hunt about this. Just say, "Lord, if there is something You're trying to show me, I'm listening."

Number four: Those who were storm tossed at sea. More trouble starting in verse 23. "They went down to the sea. He commanded and raised the storm." Who caused the storm? Who created this storm? Who did? God did. He commanded and raised the stormy wind.

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the storm you're walking through right now, that you think God is nowhere to be found, maybe He's the One who spoke those waves into existence? Maybe God stirred up those waters? You were going along minding your business. You were out on your ship. You thought you were safe, but your ship has proved to be no match for the storm that God has raised up.

See, the people in this storm came to realize that they are not the master of their own fate. They were brought to their knees. Their courage melted away in their evil plight. They were terrified. They reeled and staggered like drunken men. They couldn't keep their footing.

Have you ever been there? You say, "Life is chaotic. It's a storm. I can't handle this. I'm being thrown back and forth. I'm seasick. I can't even stand up straight."

They reeled and staggered. They were at their wit's end. One translation says, "All their skill," these were seasoned seamen, "All their skill was useless."

You see, we think we're smart. We think we're capable. You thought you were a good mom as long as you only had two children. You thought, Now, I can handle this. It's not the easiest thing in the world, but I can do this.

And then you got a third one for whom no textbook has ever been written. And now you are reeling and staggering like a drunken woman. Some of you just had that new little one, and you're thinking, Will life ever look sane again? And then maybe it was a fourth or fifth.

God knows what it takes in each of our lives to put us to the place where we say, "I'm at my wit's end. I can't handle this." And you know that's exactly where He wants us to be—at our wit's end. All our skill, all our smarts, all we can throw at this problem is worthless. It's not working.

You may be in a situation right now where you are at your wit's end. You can't fix the problem—you've tried. You've manipulated; you've cajoled; you've tried to fix everybody and everything around you. Stop it! You can't!

God wants you to come and realize that you can't handle this. Maybe it's a financial situation. It may be a difficult marriage. It may be a prodigal child. It may be a health issue. Your little tiny boat that you thought was so safe is being bounced around on the waves and you are terrified! You're in trouble.

So these four instances we see God's people in trouble. That's the first word that outlines this psalm for us "trouble."

Now what was the second word? Cry. So here they come out of their distress and verse 6 tells us, it's repeated throughout this psalm, "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble."

When did they cry to the Lord? When they were in trouble. Why didn't they cry before they were in trouble? Because they didn't think they needed God. Now they know they need Him. So look at the wanderers, verse 5, "Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them." Verse 6, "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble." Their unfulfilled needs, their unfulfilled longings, their weakness, drove them to Him, drove them to look upward.

My friend whom I love to quote, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, says about this psalm, he's got a rich commentary on this whole psalm. But he says,

If hunger brings us to our knees, it is more useful to us than feasting. If thirst drives us to the fountain, it is better than the deepest draughts of worldly joy. And if fainting leads to crying it is better than the strength of the mighty.

They cried to the Lord in their trouble. Look at the prisoners, verse 12. "He bowed their hearts down with hard labor, they fell down with none to help." Read verse 13 with me, "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble."

When did they cry to the Lord? When they were in trouble after they had experienced the painful discipline of the Lord. When they had fallen down and they couldn't get back up, when there was no one anywhere who could help them, when they had nowhere to turn but up, then they cried to the Lord.

Again let me quote Charles Spurgeon here, and I have learned this to be true as have many of you. He said, "We pray best when we are fallen on our faces in painful helplessness."

You say, "God, I don't want to be fallen on my face in helpless."

You want to learn to pray? Then let God use trouble to bring you to the place where you cry to Him in your distress.

Look at the ones who were sick. Verse 18: "They drew near to the gates of death." Verse 19, say it with me, "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble."

Look at the storm tossed. Verse 27: "They were at their wit's end." Read verse 28 with me. "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble."

Listen, ladies, you may be at your wit's end in some circumstance in your life. But it does not have to be your soul's end. That storm is not intended to destroy you, but it's a mercy designed by God to disrupt your life and to bring you to the end of yourself.

If you've listen to Revive Our Hearts over the years, you've heard me say this many times. Finish this sentence for me. Anything that makes me need God is a blessing. That didn't sound very enthusiastic. Some of you hadn't heard it before. Let's say it. Anything that makes me need God is what? A blessing. So what is that thing in your life?

Leading up to this conference, as I always do, almost always do, leading up to an event like this, I've prayed that God would create circumstances in the lives of the women who were coming to this conference that would make them desperate for Him. That would make them realize how much they need Him. Don't look at me like that. (laughter)

I'm not taking responsibility for whatever happened in your week. But did God answer that prayer in anybody's life? Did He create some circumstances in your week that made you come here hungry and thirsty? Made you realize how much you need Him?

Okay, there's trouble, then there is crying, and then what's the next one? Deliverance. Deliverance. Divine intervention. Verse 6: "They cried to the Lord in their trouble" and what? "He delivered them from their distress."

These people in all these situations, they cast themselves upon Him and on His mercy, and they were not disappointed. Those who seek the Lord will never be put to shame. They will never be disappointed. He met them at their precise point of need.

God knows today what your trouble is, what the details are, what it looks like, what it's doing inside of you. And He is redeeming your situation in His way, and He knows how to meet you at your precise point of need.

Look at the lost and the wandering. Verse 7: "When they cried out to Lord he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way until they reached the city to dwell in." He brought them out of the wilderness into a city, community with Him and with His people.

The hungry and the thirsty, they were in trouble. They cried out; He delivered them from their stress. Look at verse 9: "For he satisfies the longing soul and the hungry soul he fills with good things."

Look at the prisoners. They were in chains. He delivered them from their distress when they cried out. In verse 14: "He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and burst their bonds apart." Verse 16, if you don't believe verse 14, it's repeated. "He shatters the doors of bronze and cuts into the bars of iron."

I have a dear friend who is here with us this weekend. She's a sister in the Lord. She's a daughter in the Lord. She's a sweet friend. She's a convicted felon who spent eleven-and-a-half years behind bars. And she's been praying for me as I've been developing this message. She's been meditating on Psalm 107. She sent me an email a week or so ago. I've got to share this with you. She said,

I had a light bulb moment when I was meditating on this part of the passage. It doesn't say He unlocks the chains and the prison doors. It says He burst their bonds apart; He cuts the bars of iron in two."

Now, let me read you what she said about that. She said,

I remember times in prison when I was bound by cuffs on my ankles and on my wrists with a chain connecting the two. This was policy any time a prisoner was transported to court, to the doctor, etc. When you got from point "A" to point "B" the chains and cuffs were unlocked but always with the understanding and the dread that they would come back and lock them back up again.

When the chains are simply unlocked they can be used again to bind you. But in this passage those chains are not just unlocked, they are broken. When chains and irons are broken, they can't be used again to bind you.

Amen? (applause) 

I read some of what God speaks through His Spirit through His Word to His people, and I'm thinking, Why didn't I see that? Why didn't I get that? You meditate on God's Word, let Him apply it to your heart, it's amazing what you'll see. She said,

The word implies there is force used, a setting free by force, an urgency in God's response to the prisoner who has cried out for help, a picture of complete liberty and redemption, one that fills the heart with adoration and praise for its Redeemer.

"He burst the bonds in two. He shatters the door of bronze and cuts into the bars of iron." This is a picture of what has happened to every child of God, every believer in Christ.

Remember, as the hymn writer said it,

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature's night.
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
("And Can It Be" by Charles Wesley)

You're free, women, to follow Christ. The chains have been removed, not just unlocked. (applause)

What did He do for the sick? Verse 20: "When they cried out he delivered them from their distress." Verse 20: "He sent out his word and healed them and delivered them from their destruction."

What about the storm tossed? They cried out when they were at their wit's end, and He delivered them from their distress. Verse 29: "He made the storm be still." The same One who spoke the storm into existence, knew when it was time to tell it to hush. "The waves of the sea were hushed."

Verse 30: "And he brought them to their desired haven." He took them to where they really wanted to go, where they were headed, where they needed to go.

Now again, we've been thinking about prodigals, broken marriages. You saw the testimony of Vicki Rose. You saw how God healed her marriage. By the way, that was just a ten-minute version of a thirty-seven year story. And we just put it all in one short video. It didn't happen in ten minutes, okay? And yours probably won't, either.

But as you've been seeing these, hearing these testimonies, you heard Chrissy and God answered Pastor Cymbala and Carol's prayers. But it was two-and-a-half years of crying and sense of desperation and longing.

Maybe for you it's been twenty-and-a-half years, and you're thinking, I've cried out to Him, but He hasn't delivered me from my trouble. I'm still in the midst of the desert, the storm, the affliction. It's not changing.

Can I just remind us that God will deliver in His way and in His time and in the way that will bring Him the greatest glory? And in the way that will be for your eternal sanctification and satisfaction in Christ. He knows the desired haven, and He's going to get you there. But He going to do it in His way and in His time.

So that shouldn't make you say, "Oh, I won't cry out to the Lord because I've cried a hundred times and nothing happened." Keep crying. Keep crying out to the Lord.

Now, listen, don't make the restored marriage or the child coming home or the healing or whatever it is, don't make that your desired haven. Make Him your desired haven. Don't make an idol out of your marriage or prodigal child coming back.

God is sovereign. He will determine. You keep crying out, but you cry out to the Lord and say, "Lord, what I want more than anything is You. I want Your glory. I want Your kingdom to come. I want Your name to be hallowed. I want Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. I want You more than I want that husband home, more than I want that child home."

I see a white flag here. You might want to pull those out. You may be needing them. When you want Him more than anything else in your life, that's what you'll get. You will get Him. He will deliver you. If you are still in the storm, trust Him that He knows when to tell it to be still and that He will bring you safely to your desired haven.

"'Tis grace has brought us safe thus far." Right? "And grace will lead us home." God's grace will be with you in every moment of that storm.

Can I remind us that in this Old Testament psalm we see a glimpse of the coming Redeemer who now has come? That it's Jesus who is the One who delivers us from trouble and distress caused by sin, ours or others. He is our Redeemer.

So, for those who are lost and wandering in the wilderness, He is the way. For those who are hungry and thirsty, He is the bread and the water of life who meets our needs. For those who are lost and away from home, He is our heart's true home. For those who are weary He says to them, "Come to me, and I will give you rest."

For those who are prisoners He says, "He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives, to set at liberty those who are oppressed." Christ is our Liberator. He breaks the power of cancelled sin. He sets the prisoner free. You never find freedom apart from Christ.

For those who are sin sick, emotionally, mentally, physically, relationally, whatever—by His wounds the healing that we most need takes place. By His wounds. Christ is our wounded Healer.

For those who are storm tossed He's the One who stands up and says "Hush" to the waves, speaks to the storm, speaks peace. And so in this psalm we see the hope of the gospel, the hope of Christ for every woman in every season and circumstance of life with her life is moored to Christ.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been showing you how to be secure when the storms of life are raging. We all know what those storms are like, but God can provide an amazing amount of peace, even in a fierce storm.

A Revive Our Hearts staff member told us about one woman who found that kind of peace when she encountered biblical truth. This staff member hosted a bible study using Nancy’s books Adorned and Lies Women Believe. A woman joined the group.

Staff: She came to our group pregnant and on the verge of divorce.

Leslie: We don’t know all the details of her story, but when she heard biblical teaching, it was just what she needed to hold on as her marriage went through this storm.

Staff: She’s chosen to take the very promises of God and Nancy’s teaching and cling! It’s absolutely astonishing what God is doing in transforming her heart to do good and not evil to her husband as she entrusts herself to God. She is the most vocal ‘thank-er,’ always counting her blessings—all because she’s come under this amazing teaching.

Nancy: I’m so grateful the Lord takes the little bit I have to offer Him, kind of like the boy with the fish and bread, and the way that He blesses and multiplies it to feed a multitude by His power. I’m so glad for this woman who seemed to have no hope has benefited from Revive Our Hearts.

If you’ve ever supported the ministry financially, you're part of her story, too. We can’t be here doing what we are, day after day, sharing biblical truth with hungry, needy hearts, without your help.

We’re facing some tough challenges this month, needing God to provide $775,000 in the month of May. That's because it’s the end of our fiscal year and that’s the amount we need to finish well before starting a new year of ministry. If you go to ReviveOurHearts.com, you'll see a thermometer there that will tell you exactly where we are today toward reaching our goal. So your gift will make a big difference. It will help us keep our current ministry is going without having to scale those back. And as the Lord provides, it will allow us to pursue some expanded ministry opportunities.

And if you’ve never given to the ministry before, you can help us in a special way! A friend of Revive Our Hearts has offered a matching challenge to every first-time giver this month. So as a new supporter, your gift will be doubled up to a challenge amount of $75,000!

When you give any amount to Revive Our Hearts, we want to say "thank you" by sending you the Refresh set that we've been telling you about over the last few weeks. It includes some devotionals on how to experience personal revival, as well as some cards with Scriptures to meditate on and some thought-provoking questions. And then there is plenty of room to write your responses to these Scriptures and questions. If you’ve never caught on to journaling before, I hope you’ll give this a try. I think it will be a sweet time of walking with the Lord over the next thirty days.

We’d love to send you the Refresh resource. Visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com to make your gift and get your copy. Or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Now, if you are in a tough place today, or perhaps unbeknownst to you, heading into one, God doesn't want you to only hold on and make it through. He also wants to help you thrive. We'll talk about that tomorrow when we are back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth keeps pointing you to God's faithfulness. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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