“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
On my way home one night, I noticed a glow of flashing lights about a half mile up the road. As I got closer, I saw several emergency vehicles on the scene—police and fire trucks and an ambulance. Needless to say, I was a little curious, wondering what was going on. The intersection up ahead was lit by floodlights and blocked off, with policemen diverting traffic. When I got up close to the scene, I saw a lone mangled motorcycle. The body was gone, and I could only imagine what that meant.
I felt concerned, thinking that somewhere there might be a spouse who just got some really bad news. There would be children, parents, and friends who would hear the news, and my heart went out to them.
Biblically speaking, I felt compassion. I was concerned about what had just happened. I may have gotten an A+ for compassion, but unfortunately I had absolutely no capacity to help in the situation. No matter how deeply I felt about it, there was nothing I could do.
Do you ever feel that way about God? Most of us would agree that God is rich in character—compassion being one of His greatest qualities—but what if He had no capacity to help? I love the lines from one of my favorite hymns, “Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty . . . merciful and mighty.” Did you ever wonder what it would be like if God were merciful but not mighty? If He felt a surge of mercy toward you but had no ability to do anything about it? Or, perhaps even worse, what would happen if He were mighty but not merciful? We’d all be in a heap of trouble!
For those of us who lack confidence in the midst of crisis, it’s time to wake up to the phenomenal capacity of God to intervene and help us in times of trouble. I don’t know of a better passage that speaks to that than Psalm 46:1-11, where we are assured that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” and we’re advised to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:1,10).
You may be thinking, “How can I be still? If you were in my crisis, Stowell, you wouldn’t tell me to be calm!” But that’s what God is asking you to do—stop struggling against the problem, take a deep breath, and put your hands down. But ceasing to struggle has a downside—you’ll feel extremely vulnerable when you’ve lost all your defense mechanisms! Which is why we need to be reminded not only to cease striving but also to “know” who God is. Knowing Him reminds us that He is not only a God of great compassion but that He has a great capacity to help. He wants you to be still and to allow Him the opportunity to be actively involved in the midst of your problem.
So next time you’re in the midst of a crisis, hang in there! Be still and know that He is God, and that He is actively involved in your time of trouble. He is not only caring but infinitely capable of meeting you in your crisis and taking you through!
- When the reality of trouble hits your life, what is your first reaction?
- How does it make you feel to know that God has both compassion and the capacity to help you in times of trouble? Are you confident enough in His character to “be still”?
- Why is it so hard to be still in the midst of a crisis? What are we communicating to God and to a watching world when we are not still in times of trouble?
- Read Psalm 46:1-11. In the second part of verse Psalm 46:10, what is God’s apparent goal on the other side of your crisis? Think of a time when He was exalted in a troublesome situation in your life, and praise Him for providing that opportunity for His name to be exalted!