Back to the Present
Those of us who struggle with painful or debilitating conditions sometimes worry about our future. What will become of us as our disease or condition gets worse, and we need more and more help with the activities of daily living? Well-meaning medical professionals will often mention casually that this will get worse, or that there are other consequences of the current issue, that won’t manifest until later. It is easy to dwell on what we may have to look forward to, and to worry or become disheartened by these potential problems. Even individuals without health problems know that these bodies are not ageless, and it is certain that they will grow old and decay.
So, what are we to do when these worries and fears come upon us? Well, the same thing we do when other kinds of worries tempt us. We take them to the Lord. Psalm 46:1 says that He is a very present help in trouble. Sometimes, we don’t sense His presence, but we know that His Word is true. So, what’s the reason we think He’s not with us? As I studied this question, I came across Matthew Henry’s commentary on this Psalm, and found some very good information about that word, “present.” It can have several subtly different meanings in the Hebrew, and they give us insight into the mystery of His presence.
First, according to Matthew Henry, when the Psalmist says that God is a very present help in trouble, the word He uses implies that He is a “help found.” In other words, he is a help that we have found to be faithful in the past. He has a reputation and a history of helping His children, and this is part of our confidence that He will help us now. Even if your thinking is so far gone that you can’t remember a single good thing He has done for you, you have only to look back through your Bible to find many accounts of His faithfulness to His children.
Secondly, the writer of this Psalm uses this word to imply that He is a help at hand. He is near, always watching, waiting for our call upon Him. He does not require us to go seeking or looking for Him. He is always there in our hearts, always available to us (Psalm 145:18).
Finally, this word means that our God is a help sufficient. There is no trial you will encounter, no temptation to sinful worry, that cannot be resolved with His help (1 Corinthians 10:13). His grace is sufficient for all your needs (2 Corinthians 12:9). His power has provided everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Rest assured, my friend, that you are in the hands of the God of the Universe, and He is able to bring you through anything this world, your own flesh, or the devil can imagine.
Are you worried about your future? Do you see your body failing, and longingly remember those times when your health was better? Don’t despair! Your God is a very present help in trouble! He is near, He is faithful, and He is sufficient. Lasso those runaway thoughts that lead to dread of the future and fear of the pain or sorrow it may hold. As you take those thoughts captive, bring them to your loving Savior, your Divine Healer, your faithful friend. He will lovingly exchange them for hope, peace, and joy. Tell Him once again that you trust Him with your future, and come back to the present.