By Pastor Wes Poole
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. – NRSV
He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity. – Ben Jonson.
The story is told about an elderly lady who was greatly disturbed by her many troubles–both real and imaginary. Finally, her grandson, a pastor, tactfully told her, “Grandma, we’ve done all we can for you. You’ll just have to trust God for the rest.” A look of absolute despair spread over her face as she replied, “Oh dear, has it come to that?” Whereupon the pastor replied, “It always comes to that, so we might as well begin with that!”
“We might as well begin with that.” Yea verily…honest and forsooth! We all experience our share of life’s troubles. Some are undoubtedly bigger and more troubling than others. Regardless, God promises never to leave us to face them alone. That in itself is not all that controversial a thing to state. Of course, as people of faith we strive to place that faith as firmly in God as we can contrive. It is important to remember though that God almost always works through something, or someONE else. When we come to God for help through a time of trial or crisis, however great or small, we aren’t asking God to work “magic tricks” or to miraculously fix everything, but rather we are asking God to help guide us through. Often as not, it is our fellow sisters and brothers who serve as those guideposts. We see this quite clearly in the medical world. What is scarier than illness? Yet God asserts His presence through doctors and scientists, or the friends and loved ones who pray with us and for us. Whether we’re on the giving or receiving end of God’s Grace, it is in the face of our neighbor where we see God at work most clearly. For the modern day disciple of Jesus, it is vital that we not only acknowledge the grace and kindness shown us, but that we also become ourselves the agents and purveyors of that grace. Luther understood this when he penned his “greatest hit” A Mighty Fortress, which was based on Psalm 46. God is a very PRESENT help in trouble. Right here, right now, present tense, God is reaching out to us. May we always strive to be that present help for others. It is truly the perfect place to begin!
Let us pray…
God of mercy and comfort, help us to recognize your presence through the lives and actions of others. As we experience the grace you extend so lavishly, help us to continue being the agents of your grace in the world. For when we reach out to others in your name, we are all bound closer together, and your healing love is made known in life transforming ways. We ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe. See you soon!
Pastor Wes Poole †