“…in their trouble [they] did turn unto the Lord God of Israel….” And when “…they had sworn with all their heart, and sought Him with their whole desire…He was found by them. And the Lord gave them rest round about.”2 Chronicles 15:4, 15
When He heard His people’s loud cry for help, the Lord did not turn away from them. He turned His attention instead to their predicament. “…He regarded their affliction, when He heard their cry…” (Psalm 106:44). After He saw that His people needed for Him to step in, He came to them, and looked at them with concern. He was full of compassion and pity for them once He saw their trials. He was willing to help them out of their troubles. In all their afflictions, their heavenly Father was also afflicted out of sympathy for their difficult situation. And when we are in trouble, and seek His attention for our difficult situation by praying for His help, He also hears our cry and comes to rescue us. He will not turn us away, nor treat our case like it is not worth His attention.
There are times when crying can also be considered spoken and desperate prayer. This is the kind of prayer we lift up to God that He hears and responds to when we are in great distress. The Lord heard Israel’s prayer and had pity on her even when she was filled with outrage and rebellion. We might think that the Lord would not have listened to prayers like these, since His people would not listen to Him when He warned them. But He has the heart of a father. Just one look at their sorrows would touch Him, and just the sound of their cries would break His heart. The heavenly Father looks on His people with compassion. Whenever His wrath becomes fierce toward His own people, it does not last for a long time. But His love for His own will last for all time.
When we sincerely seek “Him with [our] whole desire”, God will be found, and then He will be able to give us rest. These should be very precious and encouraging words to us. God does not change, which is as true now as it ever was or will be. Any changes we think we can find on His end are actually changes in our attitude toward Him. When we simply go with God, we discover that He will go with us. But if we ever abandon God, we will discover that He has abandoned us also.
Once we are able to recognize these principles, then our hearts will be filled with courage. But we need to realize that God wants all of our heart, or none at all. His nature is always merciful and loving toward His people and this will never change. We should therefore confidently demonstrate our love and devotion to Him by showing it in a serious way. Even in the times of distress during all the wanderings and captivity of the Israelites, the Lord still made sure that His mercy and pity was shown to them—by the very ones He had chosen as His instruments to punish them. He was willing to have pity on His people because of His covenant with them. When necessary, He will even change the course of justice into mercy for them.
Now is the time for us to cry out to God in our distress, both as individuals and as nations. We need to ask Him to have mercy, pity, and sympathy for us. And we need to thank and praise Him for His never-ending love for us. If we will turn to Him with all our heart, He will provide His rest for us, no matter what difficult circumstances we may find ourselves in.