Psalms 46:1-2 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
It’s the one phone number everybody knows: 911. It is there in time of emergency, in time of distress, or in time of pain. We call it when we need help, expecting immediate results. We call it when we need an ambulance, a paramedic, or fire truck. And we expect them to get there quickly. But how long does it take for their help to actually arrive? I recently read that in 2017, the average response time for the police department was 11 minutes. I also read that the average response time for other emergency services was 10 minutes. That may not seem like a long time, but in an emergency that would seem like an eternity.
When we call 911, we are anticipating help to be present quickly. The truth of the matter is, it takes some time—a lot longer than we would expect. It is inherent in humans that when we need help, we want it right now, we don’t have time to wait. That’s not how the real world works, however.
What about the types of problems we face that 911 can’t help? Here are a few: the crises of life, the trials we go through, or the tragedies we endure. In these crucial times, we desperately need help. What we really need is the kind of help that is always present. That is what Psalms is talking about. In God, we have not only a help, but also present help. He is always waiting there to be with us in our time of trouble.
All of us will face turbulent times in life that are like that. They may be small things, they may be large things, but they will be times in which we need comfort and consolation. And we will want it now and without delay. We don’t just want help, we want a present help. These situations will remind us that our present help, the Lord, is our refuge and our strength. As our refuge, He is our source of protection. As our strength, He is our source of power to enable us to deal with the situation.
The question I would ask each of us is this: is He a present reality in our lives? Are we close enough to Him that in times when we really need Him, we can reach out, knowing He is there? Many Christians live like God is nothing more than a 911 call, only to be accessed in times of dire emergency, but never contacted in times of serenity. In living like this, we miss out on the abundant peace and joy that can sustain us even in the midst of trouble and pain.
My advice to each one of us is this: let’s be as close to God in the good times as we want Him to be in the bad times. Let’s be as close to God in the mountaintop experiences, as we want Him to be in the valley experiences.
As Christians we have a responsibility to be a light in this dark world, to be a living testimony of the grace of God, and to train up our children in the way they should go.
I fear that because we’re around certain things so much, we can become numb to it, and that things that should bother us, no longer do.