by Manley Beasley, Jr.
Pastor, Hot Springs Baptist Church
Most of us have special verses, promises, even home-spun sayings that we rely on when exceptionally difficult circumstances come our way. In them, we find strength, comfort and direction. But have we identified a Biblical pattern or path down which to travel in these moments that require something more? There is a verse found in Psalm 46:1 that I believe provides great insight into what we as believers can and should do in times of trouble.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Suddenly, just when we think things are about to get better, wham, round two. I’m not talking figuratively now, even though God’s Word speaks to far more than our immediate situation. I think we begin where this verse begins—
In times of trouble, don’t forget His name. Holman Bible Dictionary speaks to this, “The name of God is a personal disclosure and reveals His relationship with His people. His name is known only because He chooses to make it known. Even though He was mysterious, lofty, and unapproachable, He bridged the gap with humankind by revealing His name. The divine name reveals God’s power, authority, and holiness.
When facing trouble remember at least two truths, 1) He is powerful: Elohim-the God above all other gods, He is the Almighty God, the Most High, the Everlasting God. Also, 2) He is personal: “God is our”. Some place the “our” first and say “Our God”, but it means the same either way. Our God, the Almighty, the God above all others, the God who is in charge—OUR GOD is our refuge and strength in times of trouble. We begin addressing our problems with that reminder, In times of trouble, don’t forget His name.
But that’s just where we begin. There is a second significant truth we would do well to understand. In times of trouble don’t ignore His presence.
Sometimes we lose sight of the amazing relationship that God has made possible through His Son. He is always with us. Hebrews 13:5 says, “…I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you. But His commitment to us goes even deeper, He tells us in Psalm 46:1, that He is “very present”. I wondered where they came up with the word very since it doesn’t really exist in the Hebrew language, so I checked it out. The word nimsa is repeated twice! He is present, present in times of trouble. Friends that means He is not just present, He is very present when times are tough. That’s something to get excited about.
This leads me to a third important observation. In times of trouble don’t overlook His promises. This verse in Psalm 46 is a promise. The promises of God are for our benefit and God’s glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20 For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.
We know without question that He promises to 1) hear us- 1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us., 2) to help us- God is our refuge and strength… protection and power, 3) and to hold us- John 10:28 …and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. I don’t know about you but those are promises that I keep marked in my Bible. When it gets tough go to God’s Word and find a word. In times of trouble don’t overlook His promises.
May I conclude with a principle that is not specific to the verse I have been referencing, Psalm 46, but is absolutely consistent with the nature of God and found recorded throughout Scripture. It is this—In times of trouble, don’t refuse His invitation.
Troubled times are an opportunity, a call, an invitation from God if you will, to greater maturity and deeper intimacy. James makes God’s use of trials a tool for maturing the saints clear in Chapter 1 verses 2 through 4. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. And we are reminded In James 4:8 we have standing invitation from God to greater intimacy— James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. How, can we continue to refuse God’s invitation? What about the letter to the church at Laodicea? ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.
So, what should we do in times of trouble?
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.