Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Very Present Help in Trouble?

Psalms 10:1 Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
         These were the words of king David at a time when he was encompassed by his enemies from every side. This is not a far-fetched thought by the man after God's own heart. There comes a time when we feel that the Lord is far from us, no longer "a very present help in trouble," but an inaccessible mountain, into which no man would be able to climb. How then do we reconcile Ps. 10:1 and 46:1?

        The presence of God is the joy of his people, but any suspicion of his absence is distracting beyond measure. Let us, then, ever remember that the Lord is nigh us. The refiner is never far from the mouth of the furnace when his gold is in the fire, and the Son of God is always walking in the midst of the flames when his holy children are cast into them. I mean, He literally did this for the three Hebrew boys. He will do the same for us. His love endures forever. 
As soon as we enter into affliction, we think God should help us, but that is not always his due time.
             When our sun is eclipsed, it is dark indeed. If we need an answer to the question, "Why hidest thou thyself?" it is to be found in the fact that there is a "needs be," not only for trial, but for heaviness of heart under trial (1Pe 1:6); but how could this be the case, if the Lord should shine upon us while he is afflicting us? Should the parent comfort his child while he is correcting him, where would be the use of the chastening? A smiling face and a rod are not fit companions. God bares the back that the blow may be felt; for it is only felt affliction which can become blest affliction. If we were carried in the arms of God over every stream, where would be the trial, and where the experience, which trouble is meant to teach us?

              Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? The answer to this is not far to seek, for if the Lord did not hide himself it would not be a time of trouble at all. As well ask why the sun does not shine at night, when for certain there could be no night if he did. It is essential to our thorough chastisement that the Father should withdraw his smile: there is a needs be not only for manifold temptations, but that we be in heaviness through them. The design of the rod is only answered by making us smart. If there be no pain, there will be no profit. If there be no hiding of God, there will be no bitterness, and consequently no purging efficacy in his chastisements.

               In a nutshell, times of trouble should be times of confidence; fixedness of heart on God would prevent fears of heart. Ps 112:7. "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed." How? "Trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid." Otherwise without it we shall be as light as a weather cock, moved with every blast of evil tidings, our hopes will swim or sink according to the news we hear. Providence would seem to sleep unless faith and prayer awaken it. The disciples had but little faith in their Master's accounts, yet that little faith awakened him in a storm, and he relieved them. Unbelief doth only discourage God from showing his power in taking our parts.  

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