All week long I’m thinking about the Bible points for our Vacation Bible School and what they mean for adults. This week will be a mix of some old and some new as I share these lessons.
Today at Kingdom Rock VBS (Group Publishing), we’re learning: Trusting God Help Us…Stand Strong!
“Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock” Isaiah 26:4
Adapted from “Present and Accounted For,” published 10/31/2012
“Where are you going, Mom?”
My three-year-old has a radar system that rings alarms and sets off alerts if there is a possibility that I am going out…and leaving her at home.
That morning, she had caught me slipping on my socks. I reassured her, though, “Just putting on my socks because my feet are cold, baby girl. I’m not going out.”
“You’re staying here?”
“You’re not leaving?”
“No, sweetie. Mommy’s staying with you today.”
Snuggling in close to me, she pressed her cheek against mine and cooed, “Mommy, I stay with you.”
Of course, she can’t, not all the time, not forever, not every minute and each second of day after day after day. But for this moment, here I was snuggling with her and remaining present.
We sing it occasionally at church, declaring, “You are My Shield, My strength, My Portion, Deliverer, My Shelter, Strong Tower, My very present help in time of need.”
This is our way of singing Psalm 46 back to God:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging (Psalm 46:1-3).
Normally, I sing this song imagining God as my Tower, my Shelter in the most fearsome storms.
But what good is a tower-of-brick if it isn’t nearby when you need to hide? And what is the point of a refuge that is too far away to reach in times of distress?
It is God’s constant, faithful presence that makes Him effective as our Refuge and our Strength, our Defense and our Deliverer.
That is why “we will not fear,” not during storm or raging sea, or mountains crumbling or news reports of flooding and fire and disaster.
Because He is present. Not just here in this moment and maybe leaving us later in the care of others while He slips out for a meeting or relaxes with friends or fills a cart with groceries at the local store.
We needn’t trip to His feet in alarm when He pulls on His socks or takes His jacket down from the pegs in the closet.
He is always, ever, constantly, faithfully, never-changing, perpetually, every second of every day present with us.
This means He didn’t close His eyes, turn His head, blink, snooze, or simply grow too distracted to care when the mountains crumbled and the waters roared.
No, our God doesn’t promise us a world without frightful shaking and uncertainty. It’s a sin-plagued planet, aching and groaning for the perfection of eternity. Hurting and death and sickness and tears are part of life here.
Jesus Himself struggled with the pain and the death, earth’s inheritance, as He prayed alone in the garden before being hauled off for trial, persecution, and the cross. Sacrifice didn’t come easy for Him just because He was God here in human flesh.
He wrestled with His emotions, with His human weaknesses and the temptation laid at His feet to just abandon us all to eternity in hell. And who could blame Him? How could we ever be worthy of God’s great sacrifice?
But God was with Him in the garden, and Jesus trusted that God would give Him the courage and strength to declare, “It is finished” after walking in and out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
And God promises to be with us, to be the strength and shelter we need for whatever rages outside or inside our lives.
Moses came down from Mount Sinai and plead with God simply for this presence. Days on that holy mountain, shining with reflected glory, and Moses still longed for more of God.
The Lord Himself promised: “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
His presence. Our rest. Without Him, turmoil and worrying and stress.
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16).
Like Moses, we pray, knowing that without God’s presence, we are a mess and a disaster, and we are alone and lost, no different than those who don’t know Him at all.
His presence is what sets us apart. That’s what gives us hope for each new day and peace. That’s what others should notice about us–Christ in us, the hope and glory.
Today is a day to praise God for His presence, to thank Him for being eternally faithful, the Rock we can rely on, our Refuge in times of trouble, a Fortress of safety in the storms we face.
Trusting God in that way helps us stand strong.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King