How is God a “very present help in trouble”? Part 1
The Bible says, “God is…a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1. Let’s say that someone was robbed or experienced a tragedy. In the context of trials, how is “God…a very present help in trouble” from a Biblical perspective?
The Context of God Being “A Very Present Help In Trouble” in Psalm 46:1
If we really want to analyze Psalm 46:1, we have to acknowledge that the first word that mentioned is “God”, and the entire verse centers around Him. The words “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” don’t have any context without God. Therefore, as we look at this text, we have to view “a very present help in trouble” from God’s perspective. If we view trouble apart from the Lord, we will never understand how He is “a very present help.”
“If we view trouble apart from the Lord, we will never understand how He is ‘a very present help.'”
Mankind’s View of Trouble Without God
What is man’s outlook on life’s events without God? “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” Psalm 10:4. The wicked don’t allow God to be the controlling force of their thoughts. As a result, they refuse to see trouble or trials from God’s perspective. The Lord won’t be near to them in trouble because they shut the Lord from their thoughts during trials. Sadly, the wicked only see trouble emphasized in Psalm 46:1 because they allow their preoccupation with temporal affairs to crowd out continual thoughts on God. The questions, “What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” are more important to them than having “a very present help in trouble.” Matt. 6:31, 32.
The Main Emphasis of Psalm 46:1
Again, the main emphasis of Psalm 46:1 is the Lord, not trouble. This thought is magnified in verses 2 and 3 of Psalm 46. Only because “God is” we won’t “fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” In other words, there is no trial that should stop us from the reality of God being “a very present help in trouble.”
A Continual Walking With God Experience
In order for God to be a “very present help in trouble”, there is a moment by moment, continual walking with God experience that is implied in the verse. If we can see the Lord more than we can see great trials, it reveals a life where we have taken to God the big and small matters of life and let Him lead us. “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him…” Psalm 145:18. God says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble…” Psalm 50:15.
“If we can see the Lord more than we can see great trials, it reveals a life where we have taken to God the big and small matters of life and let Him lead us.”
Trials reveal whether or not we are trusting in the Lord. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3. We shouldn’t wait until we have a big trial and then expect that God will be a “very present help” if we have tuned God out of our lives on a day to day basis. If God isn’t “a very present help in trouble”, what does that say about our walk with Him today? Do we truly desire Christ moment by moment, or is that a dry theory that doesn’t withstand the real world tests of trials?
In this fast paced life, the Lord says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Our freshest thoughts and best energies should be devoted to being still and knowing who God is in this fast paced, godless world. “…Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…” Matt. 6:33.
God’s Eternal Perspective on Trials
As we seek first God’s kingdom, we gain insights upon this world laden with trials from God’s perspective. The Lord doesn’t view time the same way the wicked does. He can see far past this life and day to day events. “…One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8. When trouble comes to the wicked, they hardly can see past one day, and this life is their only frame of reference. Deu. 28:67; Matt. 6:31, 32. However, when we view time the way God does, it puts our troubles in the right context.
“…When we view time the way God does, it puts our troubles in the right context.”
For instance, the psalmist in Psalm 73 was wondering why the wicked prospered, and it almost shook his faith. “…My feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Psalm 73:2, 3. As he looked at the prosperity of those prideful, violent people from a temporal perspective, he had a crisis of faith in God. Psalm 73:6. “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain…” Psalm 73:12, 13. It was only when he viewed life from an eternal perspective did he see the end of wicked. Psalm 73:17. That eternal viewpoint was needful for him to know that sin will not prosper forever, and it was then that he realized that God was his true source of strength in trouble. Psalm 73:17-28.
“That eternal viewpoint was needful for him to know that sin will not prosper forever, and it was then that he realized that God was his true source of strength in trouble.”
Paul, too, had God’s eternal viewpoint when he encountered trials. This is why he could say, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9, 17, 18.
“…While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Praise God that we, too, can have this heavenly mindset as we prayerfully meditate on and live by God’s Word. It is God’s Word that reminds us that this world is not our home, and there will be an end to suffering and sin. It is God’s Word that points us to the future and says, “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” Rev. 21:4I. It is God’s Word that tells us there will be an end to this great controversy between Christ and Satan! God’s greatest gift for trials is Himself; “God is…” “…the Word.” Psalm 46:1; John 1:1, 14. Have we daily cherished God’s Word, which is “a very present help in trouble”? Psalm 46:1; John 1:1, 14. If we haven’t, how then can we daily have God’s eternal perspective in reference to trials?
To be continued…
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Franklin Morris II
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