Calling Upon God In Trouble
Paul knew the truth of what he said in the text, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
You recollect that he had had a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him; he was sorely tried and harassed, and his flesh and blood did not like it; he prayed earnestly that it might be taken away. But it was not the will of the Lord to remove this trouble; the thorn in the flesh must continue; he must have it, lest he should be exalted above measure, and to keep him down in his proper place.
And here I must pause. Our flesh and blood do not like troubles, and when temptations, persecutions, afflictions and chastisements arise, they are not pleasant, but very grievous to us. Yet God’s children must have troubles and crosses for the trial of their faith and the exercise of their patience, that they may be kept humble and in their proper place. And if it were not for these things, we should not call upon the Lord to support us, to help us, to preserve us, and to guide and lead us.
Suppose we had no troubles or trials, what would be the result?
Why, we should rest upon our lees, and be satisfied with the things of time and sense.
But when we are brought into deep waters, and into the furnace of affliction, what is the result then?
Why, we are made to cry unto the Lord from a feeling of deep necessity, and then He encourages us with such a promise as this: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15).
Now I can speak upon this subject from experience, and say, in the presence of the Lord that I have gone hundreds of times into my closet and fallen upon my knees, which I never should have done, if it had not been for the troubles, trials and difficulties that lay in my way. And therefore, what a mercy it is that the God of heaven and earth is our heavenly Father, and that we are privileged to go and tell Him all our troubles and sorrows; that He is a Father that loveth us at all times, and One to whom we may tell all our great secrets, who never has and never will betray us at any time, but who encourages us to draw near to the throne of His grace with a true heart, in the confidence of faith, to commit our way to Him, and to repose upon His faithfulness and love.
And beloved, however thorny may be your path, and whatever difficulties you may have to contend with, if through them the Lord indulges you with nearness to Himself, your troubles and sorrows will then become real blessings to you.
O how doth my soul long for more of this sweet familiarity and blessed access to the Lord! to have more implicit trust and confidence in Him! and to enjoy more of the smiles and approbation of the Lord!
And when He brings us to His feet in this way, who then can give us trouble?
For when He is graciously pleased to pour in a little of His oil and wine, then the child of God can say in the words of the text, and bless Him for an experience of it, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me” (Psalm 118:6). Yes, beloved, at such a time as this, he can boldly say, “Thou art my help and my deliverer” (Psalm 40:17).
By John Kershaw – (1792-1870)