December 01, 2018
In my trouble I cried to the Lord, and He answered me. (Psalm 120:1)
In this world there is one certainty for every man: he will have trouble. Jesus Himself stated this fact. ""In this world you will have tribulation,"" He said.
The Psalmist made this personal. ""In MY trouble,"" he said, reminding us that each of us have difficulties that are particular to us. Thankfully there is no problem we face that others have not faced (1 Corinthians 10:13), but our troubles are our troubles nonetheless.
THE GREAT FEAR
... is that we are alone. That we are left to our own humanistic devices. That there is no where we can turn. This thinking, which is a deception aimed like an arrow at our minds by the Father of all lies, is debilitating, for we know in our deepest hearts that we simply do not have the resources needed to fix the problem.
Only supreme arrogance would blind us to this staggering realization. But the reality that we are helpless is the first step to our salvation and the best prayer we can bring to God. Helplessness pushes us downward in brokenness and upward in prayer.
THE RIGHT RESPONSE
... in trouble is essential. We can try to figure it out on our own, enlist others help, or turn to the meager resources of a hostile world.
But God has a better way and the Psalmist found it. He ""cried to the Lord."" Notice the action: it was not just a prayer but a cry, indicating the essential of desperation. And notice the direction. He cried ""to the Lord."" He went to the solitary source that could do something about his problem. And so must we.
THE BLESSED PROMISE
... for those who believe is that we have a Sovereign King who pays attention to the desperate longings of any destitute servant. God hears our cry. Over and over again, through biblical example and reminder, God tells us that His ear is open and attentive to us. That He is waiting and inviting us to come ""boldly to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need"" (Hebrews 4:16).
Wise is the man who turns to God first, not wasting time in an arrogant attempt to bypass God. A quick turn to God in the beginning of trouble is the sign of matured understanding and will be rewarded. The great God of heaven and earth will clearly hear and swiftly answer.
It will be in His perfect timing (which may not seem speedy enough for us). But we must understand that his timing is driven by Divine wisdom. He knows what He’s about and will send the needed answer with precision, motivated by perfect love.
When He hears and answers (and He will) there is only One to praise, One to worship, One to tell others about. And this is exactly as it should be.
March 29, 2023
As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.
But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree.
March 28, 2023
March 27, 2023