God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalms 46:1). God is good and His mercy endures forever. He is worthy of our praise and honour. His thoughts towards us are thoughts of good and not evil to give us a future and an expected end. (1 Chronicles 16:34, Jeremiah 29:11). Our faith in Him and a life of expectancy and praise, yielding to God and allowing His Word to be final authority in our lives, will open us to the goodness of God like never before.
My thoughts go to people who seem to fail to see Godís goodness in their lives and they seem to give Him a bad name because of their experiences. We all go through tough times but some come out better and others bitter. The foundation upon which our lives are built matter a lot to what and how we experience the goodness of God. For many, the foundations upon which their lives are built have not undergone any meaningful change since they got Ďborn againí. This is one reason for great confusion in many lives. The foundations of your life can be seen in the Ďparadigmí with which you see and relate to things in your life. Somebody described concepts as Ďthe governing thought patterns that override all other opinions and provide the underlying structure for all our actions and behavioural patternsí (Apostolic strategies affecting nations by Jonathan David pg.79). What we believe, accept to be true and allow to be governing our lives define our foundation and if nothing changes, the foundation will determine how and what we do, see and expect in life. Every one has a worldview, governing concept and, as it is sometimes called, a paradigm. Simon the sorcerer in the book of Acts, chapter 8, verses 14-24, revealed the foundation in his heart was of sorcery and requested to be given power in exchange for money (another form of power). After accepting Christ, the foundation of sorcery needed to be dismantled in his heart and mind so that his new found faith could find a solid place in his heart. Many Christians hear teachings from Godís Word and read the Bible but never get to do what they read or hear because the foundation or the things they have on their Ďbelief windowí is what still governs their thoughts and actions. Beliefs govern our actions and actions affect our lifestyle as well as our expectations. Any action that is not producing the right outcome can be challenged by checking the belief that Ďgave birthí to it. Our beliefs should be checked to know what their sources are and how much they are in harmony with scriptural reality (or revelation of the Word). The problem we encounter in receiving Godís help and appreciating it as we should is due to our worldview or paradigm that is at variance with God and His Kingdom. Godís ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Is. 55:8) His ways and thoughts are higher than ours and, may I say, better by far!
The objective for this write-up is to highlight the fact that Godís help has not always been in line with what many expect, hence they miss out on the present help in times of great need. There was a joke about a drowning man who cried out for help. He was drowning in a well and a helper threw a rope at him. He shouted back at the helper, ďDonít throw a rope at me, help me out of this wellĒ. The rope was the help but his expectation was contrary to how the helper intended to help. ďFor the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of GodĒ. (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). The greatest help the human race needed and got from God was the sending of our Lord Jesus Christ to pay the eternal price for our redemption. The sacrifice, the basis for a new relationship with God, the knowledge of and the application of the cross of Christ, all help define a new expression of life on the earth. This is the basis of all other help we get from God. The sense of security, intimacy with God who loves us and an assurance of the future that is so necessary for the sanity of the human psyche, are all possible because of the sacrifice of Christ. What a help! Life becomes meaningful; with purpose defined and strength to do what is right. These are all available to us with the coming of Godís life into our spirits. Thank God for such love! The Jews missed out on this because they were looking for a sign and the Greeks... well they wanted it explained in terms of their own wisdom. What a tragedy! The best help can pass us by simply because we are looking at the wrong place with a different mindset. It takes a lot more than knowing that GOD IS WILLING TO HELP, TO RECEIVE THE HELP He offers. It is observable that people in different parts of the world have different worldviews and hence different expectations from God. In the developed nations we see them needing wisdom and in the developing ones they need miracles for signs too. They tend to have the emphasis on Godís supernatural power to deliver from trouble. In the developed nations, the emphasis is on Godís wisdom to change things. We need both. The Bible is full of the different kinds of help God offered His people at different times and for the various needs they had. We need the wisdom of God to change things and His power to deliver us from bondages and troubles we face. Usually deliverance is not sustained if there is no wisdom to cultivate the correct lifestyle to keep what has been offered. There is a need for a power encounter as well as a truth encounter. Jesus said if you continue in His Word, you are His disciples indeed and you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free. (John 8:31-32). Godís help for Joseph in the Bible was not to deliver him from slavery or prison but through the experiences prepare him for the future. On the other hand God delivered the apostles from prison so they could preach the Gospel to the Jews. We see the role of prayer in Peterís deliverance in Acts 12 and how the other apostle was killed. Jesus healed the sick but did nothing to deliver John the Baptist from prison. By getting caught up in our preconception of Godís deliverance we can miss out on His purposes. He did not deliver the Apostle Paul from being a prisoner on the ship rather He assured him of the safety of them all because of Paulís assignment in Rome (Acts 27). We must deal with Godís person, His presence and power to truly experience all the help He has for us. Many who need Godís intervention in their lives do not allow Him to determine whether it is His wisdom or power that is needed or both. Let God be God in your life. Many have taken biblical principles without a consideration for the person of the Lord. They get some results but not the fullness of Godís purposes. The principles based on the God-ordained laws that govern the natural, mental or spiritual realms do get results in many cases. These results sometimes are devoid of Godís person. For example, what you think and talk about regularly grows inside you. This principle is true in the lives of so many characters in the Bible especially David who killed Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. He recalled the victory he had over the lion and the bear. He had a consciousness of Godís greatness as he had been a worshipper who constantly praised God, thinking of His goodness and mercy. The praise of God was continually on his lips. Godís power was available to him as he walked with Him in praise and worship. He recalled the victory by remembrance. What you think about grows inside you. His God was far greater in him than Goliath was to him. There are many principles e.g. ĎDeath and life are in the power of the tongueí. This is based on a biblical reality and experiences in life prove it to be true. This can be used to bring a curse on others and it will be far from Godís will for anyone to be cursed in that way. Principles without the respect for the person, presence or will of God are just not sufficient when we need His help in times of trouble.
THE PERSON, PRESENCE AND POWER OF GOD
Having Godís presence in our lives is a function of what we allow ourselves to dwell on in our thoughts as well as in our attitudes and words. A worshipful heart, full of reverence for God, is a sure way to attract and keep His presence with us. The foundation for this is our decision (of quality) to dedicate our lives to God and do only what pleases Him. When we honour His person, (this is a product of our fear of God), we will watch our lifeís choices. These guarantee that whenever His power is needed in our lives, we can count on Him. Faith is His Word and when this is properly worked into the mainstream of our lives, it will help us see these kinds of results. Having His presence, honouring His person and making the choice to live by faith will ensure that we experience His power whenever we need it in our lives. He is indeed a present help in time of trouble. What if we are not in faith? Then He is merciful to help us in our needs. Count on Him!
STEPS TO TAKE TO EXPERIENCE HIS POWER
Repent of every known sin; believe in His covenant Word in scriptures; align your life with His revealed will; pray expecting His intervention. Get support from other believers if you are in a good relationship with them and they in God. Trust God and act on His Word; get into praise as you believe in His goodness, trust in His wisdom and expect His power to make the difference in your situation. Finally, stay in touch with Him for any instructions from heaven to equip you with the keys of the Kingdom to unlock any gate hell has locked you in. Read 1 Peter 5, from verse 6 to verse 10, do what these verses say after meditating on them. He is faithful and will be to the end!