The very present help

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Are you facing any trouble in your life right now?  If you’re not, you’re the rare individual, and if you’re not, wait a little while, and trouble will find its way to you.  We are told that “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward (Job 5:7).”  In other words, trouble is an ever-present aspect of human existence.  It comes in so many forms, and it’s a certainty. 

For the believer, however, the truth doesn’t end with the fact of trouble or suffering, for the Word of God goes on to tell us that God is a “very present help in trouble.”  The word “very” here, in the Hebrew language, means “vehemence, strength, or force.”  That is to say that God isn’t just aware of our troubles, but that He is right there with us in them, all of them, and He’s there in great strength.  No matter how it seems, looks, or feels, God is with us in trouble. 

The Scriptures reinforce that thought in many places.  Jesus’ very name, Immanuel, means “God with us.”  In the well-known words of Psalm 23 we are told that “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”  Psalm 139 emphasizes God’s constant care and presence in a believer’s life.  This psalm tells us such things as “You know when I sit down and when I rise up . . .  and are acquainted with all my ways. . . You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.”  It tells us that we can’t even get away from God if, for some reason, we wanted to.  Indeed, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?  If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night, even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.’”  And His presence was very real in our lives even from the womb.  We are told “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance.” 

No, God isn’t present in some nebulous sense.  He isn’t some mystical “presence” that somehow fills the air.  He is intimately aware of every aspect of our lives, and that means right now and right here in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in.  If we actually believe this, it will make all the difference in how we see and face our troubles.  But even if we don’t believe it, even if we forget, it’s still true.  This is just a reminder of the fact, for it is, after all, a fact.

God is with you in your trouble, i.e., strongly present, very near, right there with you right at this moment.  And He isn’t just there, He’s there to help you.  Believe this, hold onto it, lean into it, for it is wonderfully true, no matter how things seem, look, or feel.  

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