I am learning and seeing how often my first response to seeing an issue in someone’s life is to become critical and look for ways to correct them or give solutions to their problem. But, before people need solutions, they need someone who will listen to them, accept them where they are at, a tune to their challenges, validate that what they are feeling is OK, and identify with them in their pain. Then, before providing solutions, affirm them, encourage them and provide hope that inspires them to overcome. (John Townsend, People Fuel) Without those things, engaging them in how they need to fix the problems in their life will only add to their problem and cause them to become more discouraged!
Psalm 46 can provide encouragement along these lines. The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 46:1 that “God is our refuge and strength.” The Psalmist encourages us that God is a very present help in trouble.” God is present! God is with us! And, he is here to help! We are not in this alone!
Because the Psalmist knows that God is his refuge and strength. Because he knows and is convinced that God is present and that He is there to help, the Psalmist continues Psalm 46:2 “Therefore, we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.” The way NLT renders Psalm 46:3 it’s almost as if he is saying, “Because of what I know from verse 1, Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! I will not be shaken!”
Wow, that is what people need to know when they are facing trouble! They need to know that we are with them. They don’t need to be judged, criticized, or told how they should be acting, etc. They need to know someone is there and feels their pain! Before they will be able to hear or think about solutions, they need someone who will validate what they are going through, come along side and share how God met them in a time of pain (identify with them) and provide them with the hope that God will also do the same for them. (2 Cor 1:3-5)
The more I evaluate the way I face “helping people,” the more I am seeing that this is not my first thoughts and actions.
- God is our refuge and strength. God is present! God is with us! He is here to help! We are not in this alone!
- Because I know and am convinced that God is present and that He is here to help, I do not have to fear circumstances that feel overwhelming!
- I can choose to face my challenges with confidence in God, who is my strength. (Ps 46:1; Phil 4:13)
- As I trust God, and see His strength displayed, I can be a source of hope and comfort to others who fear the challenges they face. (2 Cor 1:3-4 )
- Where God dwells is a place of safety! (Ps 46:5) The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is HERE AMONG US; the God of Israel is our fortress. (Ps 46:7)