God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. —Psalm 46:1
Why is there a need for a refuge? Does not salvation through Christ exempt God’s children from the trouble, pain, and sorrow of life? The answer is clearly “no.” Salvation is a wonderful experience where there is freedom from sin and condemnation. There is inward peace, joy in the Holy Spirit, and the hope of eternal life. However, because we live in a sinful world and are creatures of emotion and feeling, we will all face difficulties. There are times when the sun will seem not to shine, and the inward and outward sorrows of life will try to encompass our souls. When the heart is overwhelmed, it is truly then that there is a need of a refuge.
Thank God there is a refuge to which we can flee in time of trouble. Psalm 46 is a passage of consolation and ministers to the hurting heart and to the soul that is in danger of drowning in the struggles of life. The word refuge infers a place of shelter, a place of trust, a place to flee for protection. While everyone in life has problems, and many seek to find solace, consolation, or escape in the things of the world, there is nothing that compares to the refuge that is found in God alone. It is to Him we should flee in times of desperation and trouble. He will truly provide a place of security and comfort and will minister to the depth of the pain so many people experience.
Many saints of God have gone through dark times; some have internalized the trouble and covered it with a smile; and yet the pain and grief gnaw in the depths of their spirits. Oh, child of God, there is help for the hurting heart. God is waiting for you to run to Him with your broken spirit and He will surround you with His great, comforting arms of love and care. He is a “present help in trouble.” God will not be too late, and He will be there to assist and give aid in anything that brings anxiety, worry, or sorrow.
The prophet Isaiah expressed the reality of God’s protection and shelter: “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat” (Isaiah 25:4). In the storms of life that rage violently and would try to conquer your soul, there is a shelter in the care of our Savior. Weary child, you are not alone. Jesus Christ is moved with compassion for those struggles you are facing today, and He promised to be with you. Isaiah 43:1-3 reads: “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” The promise was not that there would be no rivers and no fires, but God promised that they would not overwhelm us and that He would be there with us.
Because God is our refuge and strength, David proceeded to say, “Therefore will not we fear….” In spite of the spiritual, political, physical, financial, and people problems that may exist, we need not be afraid, for God is in the midst, and He will help His people. Psalm 46:5 states that, “God shall help her, and that right early.” Another translation reads so beautifully, “at the dawn of the morning.” In the time of darkness and night, God will help and bring again the morning sun. In Jesus Christ, there is hope for the hopeless, courage for the despondent, and healing for that which is broken.
It is often at the darkest of night when it seems there is no end, that the rays of light break through the darkness. If you are in a battle and struggling, do not give up. Lean your weary spirit on the strong arm of Jesus, and He will hold you up as you walk through the wilderness before you. If you will just wait on the Lord, your wilderness will be turned into an oasis, and your night will be turned to day.
When your mind is fogged with confusion and your spirit sees no way out of trouble, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). With God all things are possible, and He will not forsake those who place their trust in Him.
Abundant life is a reality in the Christian life, but it does not remove us from the internal and external battles of a troubled world. The good news is that there is a refuge to which we can flee. “Oh, what peace we often forfeit; Oh what needless pain we bear; All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer” (What a Friend). —Bro. Michael Smith