Today is the third post in the series: 11 Bible Verses to Grow Your Faith in 2017.
The year 2013 is one I will never forget.
Within one month, two of my dear friends lost their husbands, one to cancer and the other to a tragic car accident. Both men were in their mid-thirties. Both left a wife and young children behind. Their deaths broke me in new, raw places that I didn’t want broken. However, it was in those raw, broken places that I found more of God.
One day while pouring out my heart in prayer, begging God to be with my friends, His voice came softly, “Baby, I’ve got this. You don’t have to beg me to be there. Just praise me for the fact that I AM.”
They were words I needed to hear.
I AM there. I AM present with them, holding and carrying them, and I AM with you too.
The most common name for God in the Old Testament is Yahweh, translated as Jehovah. In most Bibles, Yahweh is written as LORD (in all capital letters).
God reveals Himself as Yahweh for the first time in Genesis 2, however, it isn’t until Moses encounters the presence of God in the burning bush that He uncovers the true meaning of His name.
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the people of Israel. Suppose I say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ And suppose they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. Here is what you must say to the Israelites. Tell them, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD is the God of your fathers. He has sent me to you. He is the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.’ My name will always be The LORD. Call me this name for all time to come. Exodus 3:13-15
God wrapped the full meaning of Yahweh into two small but mighty words: I AM.
There is much to learn about God’s character and nature as The Great I AM. Today, we will focus on just one.
In the revelation of this name, God speaks of His ever-present, life-giving nature. Our God is not some far-off God, too preoccupied with flinging stars across the sky to notice the last tear you cried or deep sigh you made.
God is present. Available. And working right now on your behalf.
For this reason, I chose Psalm 46:1 as our monthly memory verse.
This verse teaches us three things about the LORD:
#1: He is our refuge.
The Hebrew used for refuge is defined as, “a shelter from danger or falsehood”. Is this how you relate to the LORD? Do you run to Jesus as your safe place – do you look to Him for shelter from the storm – do you trust Him as your defense and your protection?
#2: He is our strength.
Similarly, do you look to Jesus for as your strength – as the One who holds you up and makes you strong? Do you see Him as your power, your boldness, and your courage? Is He the One you depend on to make you fit for whatever comes your way?
#3: He is our ever-present help in trouble.
Lastly, God is ever-present and available for us. He is with us and promises to be our help in times of trouble.
What is Trouble?
I think the most crucial part of this verse is the the phrase “in trouble”. It’s crucial because you and I have defined, scaled and ranked trouble in many different ways.
Many of us think it’s right and good to run to Jesus with the big stuff – with the big, bad trouble. But we’re not so sure about the little, bothersome troubles of our every day.
We don’t want to bother the God of the universe with our burnt toast, frazzled nerves or mid-afternoon slump. Surely Jesus doesn’t need to come to our rescue every time we’re feeling too many feelings – each time we lose our cool or can’t pull ourselves together.
We don’t want to bother the LORD with the every-day-run-of-the-mill trouble, so we miss Him.
You and I miss the ever-present-ness of our Savior when we define, rank and scale trouble as God-worthy or not. And when we miss His presence, we miss His abundant, satisfying life at work within us in our day-to-day.
#1: MEMORIZE THE VERSE.
Again, I have memory verse cards and a cell phone lock screen for you to download.
#2: LOOK TO JESUS IN THE ORDINARY TROUBLES OF YOUR DAY.
You are not a bother to the LORD. Let Him help you.
Look to Jesus in the ordinary troubles of your day. The more you practice seeking Him in all things, the more you will experience His present, life-giving power at work in your life. Your up-close and personal view of God will change the way you see your circumstances so that you, like the Psalmist, will have the faith to say:
God is [my] refuge and strength, [my] ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, [I] will not fear … Psalm 46:1-2 (Personal emphasis added)