Oh what a mercy it is that there is a God to go to! a God who hears and answers prayer! And what a blessing it is to be able to unbosom before him the burdened spirit! Observe the words: "Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble." If you have trouble it is a sufficient warrant for you to go to God with it. Do not trouble yourself with the question, whether you are elect or non-elect. God does not put it in that shape, and you need not. The answer will best shew on which side of the line you stand. Does he not say: "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me?" If you have a day of trouble, you have here a sufficient warrant to call upon God. Write not, then, bitter things against yourself. If you are enabled to sigh and cry unto the Lord there is life in your soul. God has quickened you by his blessed Spirit if he has put a sigh and cry into your bosom.
Remember the men in Ezekiel on whom the Lord put the approving seal. It was those who sighed and cried for the abominations which they saw and felt in themselves and others (Ezekiel 9:4). If, then, the Lord has put a sigh and cry into your bosom on account of your felt inward abominations, you are one of those on whom he has set his seal. Sanctified troubles are some of our greatest blessings; and one of their blessed fruits is that they keep us from settling on our lees and being at ease in Zion.
Careless, worldly-minded, proud, covetous professors, sunk in carnality and death, where is there ever a cry in their soul? They may have a formal prayer—a morning prayer, an evening prayer, a family prayer, and all as round as a ball, and as cold as Christmas. Stiff and frozen in carnality they are ice themselves, and they bring their ice with them wherever they come. But God does not suffer his people to go on in this cold, lifeless, frozen, icy way, with mere formal devotion, lip service, and prayers worn out like an old shoe with long and continual treading. He sends afflictions, trials, and troubles upon them, takes them into the wilderness, exercises them well in the path of tribulation, and supporting them under it, raises up a cry which he is sure to hear.