Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Afar Off? Very Present!

(a repeat from 2012)

       Trouble causes us to feel alone, even as the Psalmist bewailed the sense of orphanage experienced during his difficulties.

     "Why standest Thou afar off, O LORD?   Why hidest Thou Thyself in times of trouble?" (Psalm 10:1).

    The same David, however, unequivocally declared God to be more than near in times of trouble.

     "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).

      Which is it?  Afar off or very present?  The answer is both, that is, trouble causes us to feel as if our Lord is a trillion miles away.  The truth, however, is that God draws closer to His trusting children when we hurt than at any other time.  The Apostle Paul wrote that the Lord "comforteth us in all our tribulation," meaning that from the beginning of trouble, our Heavenly Father is on the scene with help and balm (II Corinthians 1:4).  Indeed, an unfathomable magnetism of grace and mercy draws the heart of God near to the need of man. 

     Again, however, we initially do not feel it.  Emotions, thoughts, and even physical sensations whisper or scream at us that God has hidden Himself, and rather than being "very present," He seems very far away.  This challenge calls us to trust His Word in times when such faith seems especially difficult.  We must "endure, as seeing Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27).  We open the eyes of our heart to behold that "the Light shineth in darkness" (John 1:5).  We make a choice, against all the world, the devil and the flesh throw against us, to believe the Lord's promise of His keeping, comforting and providing presence.  "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee" (Psalm 56:3).

    In a lifetime wherein trouble comes "as the sparks fly upward," we must expect much opportunity to offer prayers of faith flying upward to the throne of God (Job 5:7).  "Trouble's sure!" wrote the poet Housman.  More sure is that the "faith… once delivered unto the saints" works in the saints by the Holy Spirit's quiet moving to draw us unto confidence in God's abiding and involved presence (Jude 1:3).  Contrary feelings pave the path for believers to walk in conscious faith.  The challenge is great, but our hearts are never more vibrantly alive than in those times when we must arise to decisively affirm, "I will trust in Thee!"  Or, as the prophet and the apostle unite to proclaim…

"The just shall live by faith."
(Habbakuk 2:4; Romans 1:17)

Weekly Memory Verse
    All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.
(John 1:3)

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