But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 2 Chronicles 33:12
We are told that King Manasseh of Judah “did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.” He not only set up idols throughout the land, but put a carved image in God’s Temple! And yet we read that God continued to speak to Manasseh and his people even though they wouldn’t listen. But something changed all that. There was something about the Assyrian army capturing him, putting a ring through his nose, and leading him into captivity bound by bronze chains that got his attention. This is the deep distress that caused Manasseh to seek God with all of his heart, mind, and soul.
Thank God for deep distress! Even when we do evil in His sight, He still loves us, speaks to us, cries for us, and woos us. And when all else fails, He sometimes even sends deep distress to us. There are times I am living in His will, recognize His presence, and hear His voice. But there are other times when I rely on my will, feel the need for no one’s presence but my own, and listen to nothing but the voices in my own head. Sometimes I realize the lack of God’s direction in my life by the lack of peace and calm that only He can bring. But there are other times when I only realize my need for Him as I experience deep distress. The distress can come in many forms – physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.
When Manasseh experienced deep distress, he humbled himself before God. In other words, he recognized God to be the Lord of his life. He submitted his will, his plans, and his purpose to God. God was then able to bring Manasseh back from captivity to Jerusalem because he had “finally realized the Lord alone is God!” (2 Chronicles 33:13)
What a realization to have in our lives – the Lord alone is God! There is nothing quite like this realization. It takes the pressure off. It releases us to be who God created us to be. When we realize that the Lord alone is God, we can love our enemies and have peace in the face of death, joy in the midst of sorrow, and purpose within the chaos of life.
So if deep distress comes your way, humble yourself before God, listen to His voice, recognize His presence, and enjoy the ride wherever He takes you.