Summary: Just when we think all is lost, we can count on God to be there to help, and carry us through the storms of life.
I want to begin this morning by taking you to two other passages of Scripture. The first is found in Isaiah 41 and verse 10, which reads as follows:
“Fear thou not; for I am with you. Be not dismayed; for I am your God. I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.”
The second is found in Psalm 37: verses 39 and 40:
“… the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, because they trust in Him.”
Of course, we never get into trouble, do we? We have life all figured out … right!
I’m sure some of you are probably laughing at those statements, with your inside voice. A pause for a second and a simple reality check reveals just the opposite. We are constantly in some sort of trouble.
Understanding that fact, we can certainly understand basics when we say that God is our ever present help in time of trouble. Having said that, we are soon to discover that, that statement does not mean that God will always be there to bail us out when we get out of line.
Before I go any further, maybe we should take a brief look at that word “trouble.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines trouble as distress, affliction, danger, or need. It goes on to define it as pain, disease or malfunction; the cause of confusion, to inconvenience or bother.
Throughout Scripture we can find story after story of individuals who, some by their own devices got into plenty of trouble.
We can go all the way back to the beginning. Adam and Eve for example; Cain when his offering was unsatisfactory and he killed his brother Abel; Abraham when he lied about his wife to a king; the Israelites … again; David; Elisha; Job … oh, poor Job; and so on throughout the Old Testament.
In the New Testament we can think of Peter and his temperament; Thomas and his questioning; Ananias and Sapphira; Stephen and his stoning; Paul and his thorn in his side as well as persecution … and so on.
If we take any amount of time to look at some of these case studies, we would discover that God often uses trouble to shape, grow and discipline. That refining of pure gold metaphor again.
We know from many studies that have been conducted over the years that our early life experiences, both good and bad, influence who we are today. Those experiences shape the beginning of our self esteem.
In addition, that shaping process can also help inform us of and shape our relationship with God. He can and does use trouble as a form of refinement.
Let me pause and redirect for just a moment though, just to clarify one important fact. Even though I just said God uses trouble to refine us, He does not always use trouble to shape us. If we are in tune with His will for our lives, He also uses blessing to transform us.
With that reference, I am reminded of the story of Job. Satan asked permission to attack Job, his family and his possessions. God granted the permission on the condition that Satan did not touch his life.
We know what happened next, if you have any familiarity with the story. His friends gathered around him and tried to convince him that his experiences were because of some sin in his life and he should just curse God and die. But Job held through to the end. Certainly he cried out to and complained to God, but he remained true to his faith.
In the end, God rewarded him for his faithfulness. He remained faithful and God remained faithful to him.
Unfortunately though, more often than not, it seems that it is only in times of great distress or trouble that we choose to seek the face of God. Not only do we need to be careful with that, but we must also warn others.
We have been so greatly blessed in this great nation of ours that we have become apathetic to the Gospel. We have become apathetic to mankind’s need for a Savior.
We have become apathetic to the fact that God can be … wants to be … and is … our ever present help in time of trouble. We get in a mindset that we can work it all out for ourselves. We like to think we are rough and tough and mean and we can tough it out. Some will say – ‘Who needs God’
You know what God says to that? ‘knock yourself out … and when you have run out of steam and need my help … I will be there and will help you in time of trouble.’