Jump Start # 2995
Psalms 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Here we are in a brand new year—2022. The year has just barely started. Will it be a good year or will it be a hard year? Will it be exciting or will it be full of tears? Some have vacations and concert plans made. Some are working on wedding plans. For some, a new baby will be born this year. For some, it’s a new house. For some, a new job.
As a church, we have all kinds of classes and special events lined up for the year. We have a theme and we are focused on building all around that concept.
But here we are in this new year and the pandemic is still lurking about. Vaccines, boosters and masks have not gone away. We can flip the calendar, but there remains some lingering issues from last year and even beyond. Some families will have another year with a prodigal in their family. Some families will continue to have another year of misery in their marriages. Some will continue to tread water financially, just one disaster away from going under. Some churches will continue to manifest poor communication and lifeless worship. The year may change, but the same ole’ problems surface again.
Our passage today from the Psalms reminds us of three wonderful truths:
First, God is there. He’s always been there. He’s been there before you were. And, not only is He here, but He is aware of our troubles. Our troubles may be caused by others. For David, much of his troubles came from King Saul. You may have someone in your life that is toxic and committed to making things difficult and miserable in your life. God is there. He is aware.
Second, God is a present help. That means, today. That means, NOW. If God could only help yesterday, that would have been fine, but what about today? And, if God could only help Tomorrow, what about today? God is a present help today. And, today is when we need God. Tomorrow hasn’t happened yet, and it may not. Things can change and the outlook may not be troublesome tomorrow. And, yesterday is over. When we need God and when we need help is right now.
I love the story line from 2 Kings 20 and Hezekiah’s prayer. He was told by the prophet Isaiah to set his house in order because he was going to die. Hezekiah turned to the wall and prayed. Before Isaiah got out of the royal compound, God called him and told the prophet to return to Hezekiah. The prayer was heard. The tears were seen. Faster than a text, a phone call, or an email– God heard the prayer and God added years to Hezekiah’s life. Indeed, God was a present help. He was a fast help. He was the best help. No one could do what the Lord did. We can take life, but we can’t extend it. We can fill our lives full of adventure and fun, but what we can’t do is add days to our lives. Only God can do that, and that’s exactly what He did for Hezekiah.
Got troubles? Have you the Lord on your side? Or, more importantly, are you on the Lord’s side?
Third, God is our refuge and our strength. Two thoughts there. First, a refuge is a place of shelter. A haven to get out of the storm. A place you can be protected. People do not need a refuge on a bright sunny day when everything is fine. People run to a shelter or a refuge when a storm is approaching. In my area, it’s tornados. When the local sirens are blowing, you stop what you are doing and head inside. If you have a basement, you go there. We need spiritual havens of safety. The church serves as one. Worship can certainly calm the spirit and rest a wearied heart. But, greater than the church is God. God is our refuge. He is the help in present troubles.
Yet another thought, lying right beside a refuge is strength. God is a shelter. God is protection. God is a place to run to in a storm. But, God is also our strength. There are times when we cannot and should not run. There are battles that we must fight. On our own, we are likely to tire and be outmanned. But God is our strength. The battle against temptation. The battle against self. The battle against error. How do we fight these battles? What chances do we have? On our own, the outlook is not very good. But with God, who is our strength, we are more than conquerors. Walls have tumbled. Lion’s mouths have closed. Seas have collapsed armies. Prison doors have opened. God is strength. God is power.
So, as we head into a new year, there may be some old, old problems still hanging around. God is our refuge. God is our strength. God is our help. God is present. God is today. We will be fine, because of God. We will be victorious, because of God. The one fast ball that Satan has is death. Jesus conquered that through His resurrection. He pounded that out of the park. We have nothing to fear. If this year is our last here, so be it—we get to be with the Lord. If this is just the start of decades more to come, lets make the most of it by being busy in the kingdom.
We enter this new year with strength, hope and help. We enter the year with the Lord. In the year of the Lord, is more than a way of determining dates, it is also the theme of our lives. God be with us.