“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear . . . “
Psalm 46:1-2, NIV
From our earliest days we have instinctively known that a place of safety and security is also a place of comfort and rest. If we feel safe we relax. A baby nestled in its mother’s arms is the perfect picture of safety, security, comfort and rest. The baby doesn’t need to worry about anything – because Mum takes care of everything. In the earliest days of my own childhood, I knew that Mum was there for me. But as I got older Dad’s role became ever clearer and I realised that the security I got from Mum came from the security she received from Dad. He was the refuge and strength she needed so that my brother and I would feel safe.
Then, I learned by example that, together, Mum and Dad trusted in a Father I could not see, but who I knew was there because they talked to Him! My Dad would address Him in his prayers as, ‘Heavenly Father’. I was learning profound lessons in the simplest of ways – that not only was I loved by my human parents, but that there was a God in Heaven who also loved me, was interested in me, cared for me and provided for me. And because Mum and Dad trusted Him, then I knew I could as well. I knew the comfort of feeling spiritually safe. I grew up conscious that God was an ever-present help and that I could talk to him as well – in any circumstance, at any time and in any place.
As we grow up beyond childhood, we are not so dependent on our parents and we learn how to manage our own lives. But, however competent we may be at doing that, we never cease to be children of the living God. We are always in need of Him as our ‘Heavenly Father’ and, as our Scripture for today reminds us, He is ever-present. Whatever the circumstances of life we need not fear, for the ‘God of all comfort’ (2 Corinthians 1:3) is always there and has promised to be our refuge and strength.
If you want to communicate with someone who is a long way away, you may write them a letter, send them an email, or call them on the phone. But if they are present with you in the room it would seem bizarre if you started to write them a letter! Why would you want to do that when you could just talk to them as a friend? And that is the heart of real prayer – an intimate conversation with a friend who is with you in the room – or wherever you might happen to be – an ever-present help.
What an incredible comfort it is to know God like that. I realise how immensely privileged I was to have learned this profound lesson as a child. My heart cries out for those who are struggling to cope with life, but have never been taught how to talk with their ‘Heavenly Dad’ and to trust Him, when they need to know His comforting presence and guidance. We can all, however, have the assurance of leaning and knowing the truth of this from what we read in God’s Word, from Scriptures such as ours for today. Irrespective of how old we are or what our childhood experiences have been, we can start today to talk with Him as we walk with Him through all of life’s experiences. He is there for YOU!
Prayer: Thank You Lord for the comfort of reading in Your Word that You are an ever-present help. Help me, Lord, never to forget this profound lesson as I put my hand into Yours, as my ‘Heavenly Dad’ and trust You afresh to be there for me in times of trouble. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.