This verse is one of the greatest testimonies ever written that tells of God’s behind the scenes work during a crisis. The author of the psalm is appreciating, recognizing, and thanking God for freeing him not from suffering but through suffering. By saying, “Thou has enlarged me when I was in distress,” the psalmist was basically saying that the sorrowful seasons that he went through, has actually been the source of his enlargement.
Think of all “the heroes of faith” spoken and unspoken of in the Book of Hebrews. Earlier I wrote about the extraordinary adversity in the person and story of Joseph in the Old Testament. My devotional this morning also refers to Joseph…that when he was thrown in prison, “iron entered his soul.” Looking back on Joseph’s life, we read that his youthful years were filled with nothing less than ease and prosperity. In other words…he was probably really spoiled, because the Bible tells us that he was his father’s “favorite” son….so it’s not a stretch to say his early years were “gold and glittery.” But the strength of iron is exactly what he needed to fulfill God’s purpose in his life, which was to preserve the nation of Israel.
I’ll try to explain it this way: Someone who falls apart over simple things, will not be of much use in a real crisis. True sorrow would be much too deep for them. We all need the iron in life to develop our character and to make us strong. I am not only speaking of physical adversity…I’m speaking about all adversity. Even though it’s very tough to deal with at the onset…it prepares us for something. We may not find out what that something is for a long time…but we will find out eventually. I believe this with all of my heart… It’s in the shadows of our lives that we find the actual fulfillment of our dreams and glory. Amen?
Reading today’s devotional…it tells me that we should never complain about the shadows of darkness. “Do not say that the darkness of prison has shackled you, for your shackles are wings – wings of flight into the heart and soul of humanity. God has enlarged you through the suffering of sorrow’s chain.
If Joseph had never been Egypt’s prisoner, he would never have been Egypt’s governor. The iron chains that bound his feet brought about the golden chain around his neck.” (Streams in the Desert)
Be encouraged my friends, whatever you may be going through…you’ll be better from it.