If your experience is like mine, it seems that trouble of one variety or another is often manifested, and we are left to deal with it. That is why the Word of God is such a valuable asset as a source of encouragement and instruction.
For example, the Psalmist lamented that, because of his particular problems, his heart was overwhelmed. Do you ever feel as though your heart is overwhelmed with the burdens of troubles?
Despite the exasperation instigated by great need, he knew that, though there was trouble, there was help. It encouraged him to know it, and it encourages us, too. Actually, such encouragement is qualified by two personal responses, which lead us into the help. Consider the insight the Psalmist gained about it, and how in turn it helps us.
The first insight is really quite simple. There is help for troubles that seem to overwhelm us when we turn to God. The fact that he knew there was help only as he turned to God is evident when he declared, “When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” The “rock” is a definite reference to the Lord.
So, by turning to God for help, the Psalmist realized that he could be lifted above the consequences of his problems. Therein lay the help. Only by standing on the wisdom and solutions of God can anyone ever truly possess the proper angle of advantage for strength and stability to overcome being overwhelmed.
It is noted about sparrows that, when their nest is torn down, it will rebuild in the same location. But, if the nest is torn down a second time, instinct dictates that there is a necessity to build at a higher location to get out of the reach of what is tearing up its nest. Height is the key to safety.
The same is true for us as indicated by the Psalmist. Spiritual height is the key to safety, security, and solutions when troubles assail us. In comparison, how many times have you attempted to rebuild the aims, goals, or expectations of your life only to have them repeatedly torn down? Determine to build higher on the principles, exhortations, and instructive helpings from the Lord.
But, there is a second qualifier for receiving help from the Lord that the Psalmist came to realize. Not only should we turn to God, but it is right and good to commit ourselves to God. He references commitment to God as a part of the process for gaining help when he said, “For thou, O God, have heart my vows.” Obviously, “vows” infer commitment. He was careful not to bargain with God, but rather to make commitment to God.
For the most part, people do not have a problem in turning to God for help. It is the common response in the experiences of people during times of their particular trouble. But, so often the good thing of reciprocating God’s good help with commitment is not proactively enacted. Herein lies a consideration that must be accepted. The good of God is sustained with faithful commitment to God. The Psalmist as much as clarified it when he wrote, “You have given to me the heritage of those that fear you name.” In other words, it was only after having turned to God and after having committed to God that he began to experience the good of God like many others experienced.
The question then becomes what commitments does he suggest for himself and ultimately for us? One obvious commitment is found in the necessity of being faithful to worship in the House of God. He is rather adamant about it, for he made the commitment, “I will abide in you tabernacle for ever…I will abide before God forever.” We need to be mindful to worship God in a committed fashion, but we also need to be mindful that His gracious help is distinctly tied to faithful worship, according to many Scriptures.
Another commitment mentioned has to do in terms of “mercy and truth” prepared by God for him. Essentially, it has to do with obedience to the revealed will of God for his life.
Nonetheless, in the end, we just need to remember that, when there is trouble, there is, oh, most certainly, help.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.