Trusting Our Ever-Present God
By Rich Carmicheal
Recently I had the privilege, along with my folks and my wife, of spending a few days near the hills and mountains of Tennessee. One morning during a devotional time, and within view of mountains, I read this passage from Psalm 90 – “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (vv. 1-2). What an awesome truth! God has always been and will always be! Even before those magnificent hills and mountains existed, God was present!
My thoughts then went to the beginning of Psalm 121 – “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (vv. 1-2). Another awesome truth – the Creator of heaven and earth, the One who formed the mountains by His mighty power (Psa. 65:6), is able and faithful to help us as we look to Him! Our God who is “from everlasting to everlasting” is present in this very moment!
And then, in the midst of this precious time with the Lord, I received the following text message from a brother who sends me (and others) a devotional reading each morning from various authors (this one by F. W. Krummacher):
“However the waves may roar around thee here below, and however darkness may compass thee about, high above the darkness and the flood sits the Only Blessed and Faithful. He has thee firmly in His arms, and to His heart He holds thee fast and safe. He raises thee and carries thee, and calls to thee, through the clouds and through the night, ‘…Fear not; for I have redeemed thee: I have called thee by thy name: thou are Mine’ (Isa. 43:1). ‘For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed…’ (Isa. 54:10). Oh! trust in this call. Let thy soul find rest therein, and be comforted. His name is God – Amen. Lean upon Him. Let Him be thy rod and thy staff. And as often thou art troubled, let these precious and faithful words, gently comforting thee, fall like harp tones upon thine heart….”
Imagine the blessing as I read that precious verse – “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed….” God was here before the mountains were created (Psalm 90), He is here now as we look to the mountains (Psalm 121), and He will be here after the mountains depart! He is always with us, and He promises us that His kindness and covenant of peace will never be removed from us.
Add to this the wonderful truths in Psalm 46 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God…. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. …Be still, and know that I am God…” (vv. 1-4, 7, 10). Everything could give way around us, and yet God will still be God. He is now, and will always be, no matter what, “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”!
If you are going through something difficult, I hope these truths are very encouraging and comforting to you. As you turn to the Lord, you will always find Him to be faithful to protect you, provide for you, strengthen you and help you! “…For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5). “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever” (Psa. 125:2). “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psa. 62:8).
About This Issue of the Herald
The Herald staff thanks the Lord for the opportunity to share this issue with you. We realize the spiritual battle is intensifying in these last days, and so there is the need to encourage one another, “and so much the more as [we] see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25). As you read through the messages, you will notice several themes that are crucial in this final stretch before the Return of Christ.
First of all, there is a reminder that our God is over all, that He is faithful to strengthen and sustain us, and to work in and through our lives according to His purposes. His word to us in this tumultuous time is indeed, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10). He will keep us in perfect peace as we keep our minds stayed upon Him (Isa. 26:3).
A second focus is upon the significance of prayer and the need for greater devotion to prayer, both individually and corporately. As Bob Bakke reminds us in his article, prayer is essentially union with God, as “through prayer we pour our lives, our thoughts, our longings into God and receive the life, power, character, mind, and authority of God in return.” Wow! No wonder Jesus and the early church were so devoted to prayer! (Luke 5:16; 6:12; Acts 2:42; 6:4). And no wonder the Apostle Paul calls us to “continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving”! (Col. 4:2). The article by Harold Vaughan will be helpful, not only to prayer leaders, but to all of us as we seek greater depth in prayer. Andrew Murray’s article is vital as he stresses our need to rely upon the Holy Spirit in prayer! May we devote ourselves all the more to “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit...” (Eph. 6:18).
This leads into another theme in this issue – the absolute need we have in these last days for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and ministries. We need to be led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14), filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), filled with hope by the power of the Spirit (Rom. 15:13), strengthened with might through the Spirit (Eph. 3:16), filled with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), and sanctified by the Spirit (Rom. 15:16). The article by A. W. Tozer is both convicting and encouraging in regard to this, as is the article “Outpouring Of Spiritual Life” by Charles H. Spurgeon. Spurgeon’s article “Blessing Upon Our Children” reminds us to lay hold of God’s promise to pour out His Spirit upon our children.
There is also a call in this issue toward holiness, including a brief, but powerful prayer by Thomas Reade. We are to pursue holiness, “without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Christ is returning soon, and “we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).
Several of the articles also emphasize the need for renewed commitment to the Word of God. How grateful we can be that the Word of God is full of life and that it works powerfully in us as we take it to heart! As the Lord declares, “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you…” (Isa. 55:10-12). May the word the Lord has provided in this issue work accordingly in you!