Fictitious though they may be, even superheroes have limitations. God does not. He is limitless, almighty, omnipotent, and omniscient. There is nothing He cannot do, there is nothing He does not know, and one of His promises to those who love Him is that He will be an ever-present help. That may not sound like much to some because they still view God through the prism of their experiences with their fellow man.
We’ve all been there. We all have that one friend who promises to help us move, only to twist his ankle the night before. It’s almost serendipitous how that happens. He’s very clear about how he’d love to help, he really would, but his doctor told him not to put any weight on the ankle if he wants it to heal properly. You kind of want to point out that the last time they had a doctor, it was a pediatrician, and Ronald Reagan was still president, but you let it go, say you understand, and try to barrel-carry a couch down two flights of stairs all by your lonesome.
When God says He’ll be there, he means it. When He says He can help, He can. They are not just empty words. He is, after all, not Joel Osteen.
If you’ve ever wondered how certain individuals could display such courage and boldness in the face of persecution, threatened with loss, and death itself, it’s because they believed God’s promise toward them, as well as possessed certainty regarding His ability to carry it out.
Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble.”
God doesn’t ask what kind of trouble. He doesn’t qualify His promises with addendums or disclaimers like the commercials for medications on television. He is a very present help in trouble. That’s a broad umbrella. Any kind of trouble, at any time, He is there, presently, and not just to stand by and watch you sink into the quicksand, but to help.
A man does not need refuge during times of peace. He does not need refuge when things are going swimmingly, there are no enemies to be had, and the sun is shining overhead. A man needs refuge when he is being pursued, when his life is in the balance, and when being without refuge would mean certain death. It is in times of peril that God our refuge is there, not just willing to lend a hand, but fully able to turn the tide, to quiet the storm, and to put your enemies to flight.
Oftentimes we want God to do for us the things we can do for ourselves. The Word doesn’t say He is our maid, our piggy bank, or our personal chef. He is our refuge! You don’t need supernatural healing for the ingrown toenail; you just need a pair of clippers.
The mundane is not where God resides; the impossible is. If you are able-bodied and of sound mind, pray for an honorable employer and not to find a bag of gold someone left on your front porch.
But what about Elijah and the ravens? What about it? It’s not like Elijah was camping out in the parking lot of a Quickie Mart. He was in the wilderness with no way of providing for himself, and God sent the ravens with meat and bread. Even then, it doesn’t say God cooked the meat for Elijah. Some things we can do for ourselves, and if we can, then we must rather than expect supernatural intervention. When the answer to your problem is less laziness rather than ravens bringing you meat, be less lazy.
Could you imagine if that happened in our day and age? Granted, if it came down to survival, I don’t think anyone would be that picky, but I’m sure there would be at least one who would ask if the bread was gluten-free and another who would try and remind the ravens that they were vegan and couldn’t possibly eat the meat proffered them.
Whether refuge, strength, or trouble, they all denote a sense of urgency, desperate need, and an inability of the individual to affect change regarding the situation of their own volition. If you need refuge, you are unable to push back your enemy, whether because they outnumber you or because you are not strong enough. If you need strength, it is because you do not currently possess the strength required to carry out the task you intended to carry out. If you are in need of help, it is because whatever the mountain standing in your way is, you cannot move it on your own.
Men blame God or the devil for their failures but never themselves. If they did not succeed in an endeavor, it’s either because the devil tripped them up or God didn’t help them enough. It’s never because they didn’t put in the requisite time or because their endeavor was a nonstarter, to begin with. I'm sure books for pets would have been a global phenomenon if only you could have gotten it off the ground. Never once do they consider that their endeavor might not have been the will of God for their lives or that had they succeeded, it would have chilled their relationship with Him.
Self-obsession eliminates objectivity. If you think the world revolves around you, you leave no room for the plan and purpose of God for your life. What may be good in the short term for you might be detrimental in the long term. What may be easy for your flesh might be detrimental to your spiritual man.While we are obsessed with the flesh, the here and now, this moment in time, God’s focus is on you with Him in eternity. When our minds are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, then we’re on the same page as God, with eternity as our goal rather than a momentary, fleeting comfort.
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