Paul Faulkner once told a story about a man who was trying to share his faith in Jesus with a woman who was going through a tough time.
The woman told him that her life was falling apart. Nothing was working. Her daughter had been killed in an accident. Her husband was unfaithful to her. Now, she was about to lose her job.
“When the world crashes in on you…to whom do you turn?” asked the man.
After a long pause, she replied, “I guess I just go to myself.”
Later she admitted that the one word that most described her was “ALONE.”
How sad. Yet this woman’s plight is descriptive of many today who try to face trial and trouble alone. Without help. Without hope. And without God.
Today, we are experiencing a lot of trouble in our world. COVID-19. Racism and racial tension. Social and cultural disruption. Political posturing and infighting. Murder and mayhem in our cities. A breakdown of law and order. Weakness and indecision in our leaders.
On a personal basis, many are suffering physically, financially, mentally and emotionally. Hopes have been shattered. Homes are being torn apart by death or divorce. And hurting people are often feeling isolated and alone.
In our Bible reading today, we’re reminded that we’re not alone in times of trouble.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
#1 God is.
The Bible never argues the existence of God. It is assumed. The Psalmist saw God’s handiwork in the world. He witnessed God’s creative power in the universe. And felt God’s divine presence within and through the wondrous functioning of the human body.
Our world has lost its way spiritually. If people believe in God, often it’s a god of their own choosing. Not the one, true God. The Bible is discounted. Faith is attacked. And prayer is ridiculed. In the beginning of the Pandemic, when Vice-President Pence suggested we needed to pray, he was mocked for his faith.
While this post won’t convince the unbeliever, Christians need to reject the skepticism and cynicism of an unbelieving culture, revive their faith, and return to God.
#2 God is our Refuge.
The word refuge is an allusion to the cities of refuge in Israel, which were a place of safety, security and protection for someone who had accidently killed someone.
Twenty-four times the Psalmist described God as his refuge. He’s a refuge for the oppressed. From enemies. For the poor. In times of trouble. When calamity strikes. When friends forsake us.
God is called a “strong refuge.” “A safe refuge.” “A rock of refuge.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
#3 God is our Strength.
The Psalmist often refers to God as “my strength.”
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.
Human strength is limited, finite, and often unreliable. But God provides mental, emotional, and spiritual strength to deal with adversity. Triumph over temptation. And overcome trial and trouble.
#4 God is our Help.
Notice the emphasis. God is our help. Our present help. Our very present help.
God is there. He is not a mere spectator in our pain. But present to provide assistance and support. Refuge, strength and help will not come accidently or miraculously. Through prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship with God’s people, and a relationship with Jesus Christ, we can access God’s provisions, promises, and power.
When you face trouble, trial and temptation, heed the advice of the wise man: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman