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May 15, 2015

Ever-Present Help!

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

Nothing could be more comforting or provide more confidence than knowing that God is your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. We all have troubling times. As unwanted as they are, troubles crowd into our lives. This isn’t Heaven. Jesus said to expect problems. Peter told us not to be surprised by them. The good news is that we are never alone as Christ followers. Even after the ascension, as the disciples made their way back to the city, they knew that God was their refuge and strength. Despite the fact that they had seen Jesus leave, they had the assurance that God was an ever-present help in trouble. And troubles were definitely surrounding them! The threat of Roman and Jewish persecution was real. Only a little over a month had passed since Jesus had been crucified. Though His followers had seen or heard of His resurrection, He was now physically absent.  Jesus left them with specific instructions to wait and, when the Holy Spirit came, they were to be His witnesses. No doubt, they were counting the cost of that commitment. Over those next ten days of waiting, they would pray and prepare as best as they knew how; but, deep down, they must have known that it would take a power beyond themselves to accomplish their mission. They must have gained comfort and confidence from the promise of a Psalm like this one.

When you are alone and afraid, what do you do?  Stand on the promise of God’s word. God is your refuge. He is your hiding place where you can run and be safe! God is not merely a temporary retreat. He is your eternal refuge. When you feel weak, acknowledge that God is your strength. He doesn’t just give you strength. He is your strength! His strong presence will hold you when you feel too weak to stand. Lean on Him. Trust in Him to be your strength. When troubles come remember that you are not alone. God is your ever-present help

In fact, the Psalmist goes on to say, “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.” (Vs. 7) Despite even catastrophic destruction described in this Psalm, the Psalmist says, “So we will not fear….” (Vs. 2a) How is that possible? The secret is found in verse 10.

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”

When I am still before the Lord, I can rest, receive His strength, and renew my faith. Be still before the Lord, today, and meditate on His promise. God is your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.