By Pastor Anthony L. Scott
The intersection of experience and expectation will often lead to disappointment. By this, I mean we anticipate by faith what future experiences are going to be, only to arrive at the moment itself, and reality proves to be something all together different. Discouragement is the result when the real proves not to be identical with the anticipated. What does faith mean in this context? Can I find help in the depth of a crisis? Does God really help in times of trouble?
You may feel at this moment like the heavens seem utterly silent and even locked from the inside. The weight of circumstances may be challenging your faith as never before. The good news is God really assists when doubts and fears arise.
Take time to read Psalm 46:1. This scripture has something to say as we begin our week. It begins with a very specific promise, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Those who take God seriously, open their lives to Him, look to and depend upon Him, to these people a promise is made. They will be given assistance from beyond.
When in trouble God gives us the experience of ecstasy. The experience of ecstasy is that of rising up with wings as an eagle. When God comes into our situation we are immediately lifted. The prophet Habakkuk experienced this during his personal crisis (Hab. 3:17-18). Amazingly, in the midst of despair is often where our confidence in God is renewed.
When trouble appears gives us a new energy. We are energized to get up and meet the challenges confronting us by faith but also with a divine companion, God Himself. The great missionary Hudson Taylor once said, “It doesn’t really matter how great the pressure is it only matters where the pressure lies, see that it never gets between you and the Lord. The greater the pressure the more it presses you to His breast”.
In trouble God gives us the gift of endurance. The strength to keep going until our expectations based on His promise become reality. The nature of faith is to gather itself unto God. Genuine faith does not wander from God nor is it drawn away. This kind of faith is strengthened from the assaults of life.
Some may ask, why this order. Would not it be better for God to give endurance first, followed by energy, and finally the climax of ecstasy? I believe God desires that we praise and celebrate Him for who He is before He actively intervenes in our situation. Therefore, when we find ourselves overwhelmed with immense troubles, that we cannot change, begin to praise Him in faith for what He has promised to do.
Troubles serve the purpose of fueling the believers hope in God. He then becomes our ground for rejoicing. This is the key of triumphant living. The experience of trouble will fortify the very hope it seems calculated to destroy. The hope we have in God as an intellectual belief is strengthened by the experiences of life’s adversities. Hope is exercised by adversity and thereby grows stronger.
Learn to live in the comfort of God’s presence. His deliverance comes immediately as assistance in affliction. He then navigates us through the storm to peace and tranquility. God does help in our times of trouble. He is a very present help.