“Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them out of their distresses.”
Psalm 107:5, 6
Until they wandered in the wilderness—until they felt it to be a solitary way, until they found no city to dwell in, until hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them—there was no cry. There might have been prayer, a desire, a feeble wish, and now and then a sigh or a groan. But this was not enough. Something more was wanted to draw forth lovingkindness out of the bosom of the compassionate Head of the Church. A cry was wanted,—a cry of distress, a cry of soul trouble, a cry forced out of their hearts by heavy burdens. And a cry implies necessity, urgent want, a perishing without an answer to the cry. It is the breath of a soul bent upon having eternal realities brought into the conscience, or perishing without them. It is this solemn feeling in the heart that there is no other refuge but God.
The Lord brings all his people here—to have no other refuge but himself. Friends, counsellors, acquaintance—these may sympathise, but they cannot afford relief. There is no refuge, nor shelter, nor harbour, nor home into which they can fly, except the Lord. Thus troubles bring us to deal with God in a personal manner. They chase away that halfhearted religion of which we have so much; and they drive out that notional experience and dry profession that we are so often satisfied with. They chase them away as a strong north wind chases away the mists; and they bring a man to this solemn spot that he must have communications from God to support him under, and bring him out of his trouble; and if a man is not brought to this point by his troubles, they have done him no good. But what a mercy it is when there is a cry! and when the Lord sends a cry in the trouble, he is sure in his own time and way to send deliverance out of it.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869