Experiencing God in the Midst of Fear
by Chip Ingram
God Himself: Our Source of Hope
(Psalm 46:1-3) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
The psalmist is very clear right from the start: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” To underscore this fact, the psalmist talks about the destruction of the two most stable and seemingly indestructible things he can think of. Even if, he proposes, the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the sea and are swallowed up, we will have no reason to fear because God will be with us.
God Wants to Be Your Refuge Today
God is a refuge, a place of protection from external threats, a place we can run to, shut the door, and know we’ll be okay. He will be our refuge. Rather than fleeing to a big steel building or tunneling underground for safety, we can turn to the God of the universe who says, “I personally will be your refuge. You can come to Me, and I will wrap My arms around you and I won’t let anything touch you. I will be a place of absolute safety for you.”
God alone can provide the security we need when the foundations of our life get ripped out from under us. God is our refuge, but He won’t take the job unless we let Him. Is He your refuge today?
God Wants to Be Your Strength Today
God promises more than just protection from the externals. He also wants to be our internal strength. He wants to provide us with the power to endure life’s hard times. But He only gives us that power and strength minute-by-minute, moment by moment. We all tend to focus on future fears (what if I lose my job-tomorrow? What if this relationship goes south in a month? What if I get sick?), and when we do, we get anxious, uptight, and fearful.
That fear comes because God doesn’t give grace for tomorrow. (We can’t be sure tomorrow will even come!) He gives grace for today, and our responsibility is to trust Him for today. He says He will be our strength. If we need a certain amount of His grace to make it through this hour, that’s how much grace we’ll get. If in the next hour, the going gets tougher and we need that much more grace, that’s how much more grace He’ll give us. Moment by moment, the Lord says, “I am for you, and I will be your strength.”
God Wants to Help You Today
And, third, God gives us His grace whenever we find ourselves in any kind of trouble. He is “for us,” and he is an ever-present help. He is readily available to us in times of trouble no matter how great, no matter how hard.
Martin Luther realized this truth as he sat imprisoned in a castle tower waiting to die. Betrayed by the church and waiting for morning and his execution, Luther prayed over Psalm 46, and God met him. That was why, as he was about to lose his life for his God, Luther was able to confidently proclaim, “A mighty fortress is our God!”
When morning came, Luther’s captors put him on a wagon to take him from the tower to the place of execution. On the way, a band of his followers came by on horseback, swooped him up, and took him to a German castle. There Luther was protected and hid for a year, during which he translated the New Testament into German. For the first time in history, the Bible was available in the language of the common man. Clearly, God was for Martin Luther. God showed up for him — and He will show up for you.
In like manner, Stephen (Acts 7:55-60) didn’t face his enemies and executioners alone. Even as he was being stoned to death for the “crime” of believing in Jesus Christ, Stephen was given the ability to see into heaven, where Christ was standing at the right hand of God the Father, ready to receive Stephen’s spirit. What a comfort that must have been for him!
Now Martin Luther and Stephen were not extraordinary people living extraordinary lives. They were ordinary people like you and me who faced persecution for their faith. But God’s presence, His “ever-present help,” sustained them. For one His grace meant deliverance from his adverse circumstances; for the other, it meant deliverance unto His Lord.
So what does this truth about God mean for you and me? It means that we can draw near to God and experience His hope in our times of need. And it means that . . . You don’t have to be afraid because God is “for” you.
So, do you long to Experience God today? In the Audio CD series I Am with You Always, Chip Ingram explores pivotal chapters in the Psalms, revealing how you can meet God in the midst of your most difficult moments. Whether you’re struggling with a rocky relationship, an unexpected crisis, depression, or injustice, this series will remind you that the Lord is faithful to hear you heart’s cry and He will be there for you, time and again. Get this encouraging course today, contact Walk Thru the Bible at 011 782 4222 or email: [email protected]