Psalm 118:5 reads, “When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.”
I’m so taken by the phrase ‘spacious place’. I looked up spacious in the dictionary: Roomy. Having ample space. Larger capacity than normal. Vast. Of a great extent or area so that you can move around. I suppose fighting claustrophobia much of my life might have something to do with my love for wide open spaces!
The ESV Bible says, “out of my distress I called on the Lord; he answered me and set me FREE!” Talk about spacious! It doesn’t get more spacious than free! The Message Bible reads, “pushed to the wall, I called out to God; from the wide open spaces, He answered. God’s now at my side and I am not afraid.” How interesting that He answered FROM the wide open spaces. I thought God never leaves us. It’s true! God’s promises are absolute. He said “I will never leave you or forsake you.” If I am in a tight place, and He is with me, how can He answer me from the wide open space?
You know what I think? I think when we are hard pressed, pushed up against the wall, in a tight place that causes us anxiety…that’s where our focus gravitates. On the pressure. The pain. The illness or loss. It threatens to smother us. But God cannot be contained by a small space. He is God. Greater than the universe. He is not overcome by suffering or depression or loss.
When we cry out to Him we make a decision to stop looking at the hardship and focus on God. He never left our side…but we lost sight of Him. Opening our mind and heart to His presence blows out the walls that threaten to smother us. Keeping our focus on God helps us to live free in that spacious place and gives us the faith to not be afraid.