Herald Journal Columns
July 28, 2003 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Oh God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come

By Rev. Daniel Runke, Albion Evangelical Free Church, Albion Township

It seems like today everyone is feeling the stress and pressure of the times.

With everything going on in the world: struggling economy, war in Iraq, and the uncertainties of the Middle East, it is no wonder everyone is feeling tense. What can a person do, or where can a person go to find help? We can turn to someone who has gone through the same thing.

Reading through the Psalms it's easy to detect that the writer has certainly experienced some difficult times.

He says, "My heart is in anguish within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me;" "I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart."

But, can we learn anything from him? In other places the psalmist says "God is a refuge . . . an ever-present help in trouble." And "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;" "God only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken."

Maybe you are saying "I have tried God before and he didn't help me." I know there have been times in my life when I have cried out to God and nothing happened. You might ask "Well then, why didn't God help me?"

Again the Psalmist can help us. He says "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit;" "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise;" "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."

So what can we learn then from the Psalmist? First, troubles in life are unavoidable, or as the Bible says "man is born for trouble or sorrow." No matter how good we are, we will not escape problems.

Second, God is the only refuge and fortress available to man. He is a "strong tower," a person to turn to for salvation and to find help. Only by turning to him can I avoid being shaken by the troubles that surround me.

Finally, if I am going to turn to him, it means that I must come to him on his terms, not mine. The Bible says "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Jesus laid it out for us in the Lord's Prayer "Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come . . ."

Do you ever talk to God? If not, why?

Does your life resemble his holy name? As king, is his will or your will being done in your life? Do you have anyone you need to forgive, just as you have been forgiven?

Do you walk into temptation expecting to be delivered or do you seek for a way out? The Psalmist reminds us that help is available, only it's available on God's terms, not ours.

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