Too often times, we find ourselves perpetually living in the past or the future for the wrong reasons.  We live in the past with regret, bitterness, and strife, and we live in the future with worry, fear, and anxiety.  The Psalmist describes God as a present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) While He is a God at all times – past, present, and future – and a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother, we fail to find Him presently in the place or places He has promised to be.  We will find Him in the future, because He holds tomorrow in His hand.  We have found Him in the past, because it is He who has led us thus far and given grace to continue to this very hour.  So, the past should be lived through thanksgivings and learning with the future lived in and through hope.  However, the only space we really occupy is today: this moment, the present.

The word “present” in the verse literally means: to find, acquire, and attain.  There is an inference of work or striving, and a sure reality of finding.  Therefore, the Lord’s help today is often experienced through looking for it, striving to attain it, and expecting to find it.  In other words, the blessings of today aren’t just dropped in our lap like a special mail service delivery.  He is certainly able to bless in such a fashion, and we are recipients of general, kind providence such as this world, the sun, rain, life, breath, and being.  However, helps for the moment in our times of need are striven for.  We must look for them and expect to find them.

One of the surest and most readily available ways of acquiring help for the moment is through prayer.  The Bible is rich and replete with commands, exhortations, and promises regarding prayer.  If we seek Him, we will surely find Him.  Effectual, fervent prayer avails much.  This is why it should be done without ceasing: in the moment and presently.  Today, the world and culture ascribe many things to happenstance, coincidence, and luck, while the negative is ascribed to fate, destiny, and karma.  When someone prays and things don’t improve, the scoffer says, “Aha, prayer doesn’t work…”  When people pray and good things happen, the scoffer says, “Ah, it just happened that way…” Friends, when we pray, present help comes.  Maybe not in the way we thought or expected, but help comes.  Sometimes it doesn’t even come in that moment, which is why the Psalmist goes on to declare, “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), and there is help in that in and of itself.

Another sure way to find His help is to go where we know He is.  While God is everywhere present and nowhere absent, He has promised to manifestly be with us in certain places.  He has promised to be with His people in His house when they meet in His name.  If you are looking for somebody, one of the first places to look is where they live: their home.  When we look for help today, one of the first places to find that kind of help is in God’s house, assembling with His people.  In this modern age, people think that things like audio/video, virtual rooms, and even not being there at all are perfectly acceptable alternates to public worship in the assembly of God in the church.  Jesus and Paul made it a weekly pattern/habit to be in God’s house (Luke 4:16, Acts 17:2), and so should it be with us.  If we should expect to find Him in His house, we should hope folks expect to find us there meeting with Him.

Now while we should always be in a state of prayer and make it a custom and habit to regularly and weekly be in God’s house, what about those times presently like now where it is no assembly?  What about some random Wednesday afternoon or late-night Thursday?  God does not just take up residence in His house, but He also resides in tabernacles of clay.  He sends His Spirit to testify with our spirit that we are the children of God.  (Romans 8:16) After regeneration, He makes our heart the temple of the Holy Ghost.  If He is always there, we can’t find a place to be where He is not, for He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.  One might then inquire, “Then why does He feel so far away at times and seasons?”  When Elijah met with God in a cave, he experienced four things: wind, earthquake, fire, and a still, small voice. (I Kings 19) Holy Writ specifically tells us that God was not in the fire, wind, and earthquake.  Though we know He is in those very things at times, He wasn’t here on this occasion.  Side note: this shows that God is not the author or the doer of all things we see in this world.  However, there is no one else that speaks in this manner.  No other being can speak in a still voice.  Voices move, but His voice can go in ways and places that sound cannot.

Sometimes, we feel far from Him because the winds, fires, and earthquakes of life are garnering our attention and claiming our priority.  All the while the commotion of the world carries on, His voice is constant, faithful, and loving.  He never fails to communicate or reside with His children.  To acquire help, we need to drive away the blowing of our care, the quaking of our worry and fear, and the burning of our strife.  When we do, we hear Him faithfully saying, “Fear not, it is I.”  He ever abides to confirm and re-affirm His love.  Yes, He has blessings untold, but there is nothing today – presently – that He cannot deal with.  For today, may we seek today, and may we hope to find today real help and consolation for today.  I do expect to see Him one day after a while, and I have looked back and seen His gracious hand in so many ways in my own meandering journey. But, may I look today through still calmness, prayer, and with opportunity in His house to find present help for my times of trouble.

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