Summary: Climate change, riots in many American cities, a worldwide pandemic (COVID-19), battered economies with joblessness and many businesses closed down, wars in various nations… [the list goes on]. If you feel like you’re looking directly into a looming hurricane of troubles, take courage! There’s shelter in even the most furious storms if you know where to look.
The Bible’s 91st Psalm offers much encouragement and hope in the midst of great trials. Wonderful promises of divine deliverance are offered to all who “dwell in the shelter of the Most High” (vs. 1), to those who “say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (vs. 2), to those who say, “The Lord is my refuge” (9) and who love the Lord (14). To all such diligent seekers after God, He makes remarkable promises of refuge, protection and deliverance. Here are some of those promises in this 91st Psalm:
Again, to whom does God Almighty (“the Lord … the Most High”) promise these things? The answer? — to those who draw close to Him and rest in His “shadow” (vs. 1) … to those who trustingly look to him as their refuge and fortress (2) … to those who love the Lord and call on Him and acknowledge Him (14f).
Jesus was teaching His followers how to pray, and He gave them the famous Lord’s Prayer, which many know as the “Our Father.” I draw your attention to that portion of the prayer where Jesus says to ask God the Father to “deliver us from evil/the evil one.” Greek experts tell us that the word can be translated both ways.
This most famous of all prayers is quite short. Jesus focused on less than a dozen items, one of which was the importance of prayerfully asking God for His deliverance from evil and from the evil one (Satan and his demons). This is a powerful teaching from Jesus, reminding the believer to call on God in prayer whenever we need His divine intervention in our natural or spiritual battles.
I suggest memorizing a short prayer based upon the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in heaven, I ask you for deliverance from this evil (or evil one) that I am facing, in Jesus’ Name.”
The God-fearing man or woman, who has come to the Lord in faith and sincere repentance for sins (Acts 20:21), can be comforted with the knowledge that God does indeed send guardian angels to watch for His people. Many years ago my late wife (a spiritually sensitive woman, now with the Lord in heaven) saw a vision of my guardian angel. We had just gotten to bed for the night. She saw the angel walk past me and take up a position directly behind the bed’s headboard, as if he was posting himself there to watch over us for the night. This is entirely consistent with the psalm above. The Lord’s angels do encamp around God’s people and are there to deliver them from troubles.
I recall a time when I was driving with my wife on a country road on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona. It was almost dark. I briefly noticed some car headlights well off to our right on a road coming down the hillside. It was a perfectly normal scenario, since I was on the main road and he would be coming to a stop sign, so I paid no attention to him. For a while I didn’t see that car anymore, as he was obscured by brush and trees. But just before we reached the intersection, I felt a strong urge to back off the gas pedal and slow down. Just a few seconds later, that car came literally airborne through the stop sign, then crashing down onto the pavement in front of us in a shower of sparks. If I had not felt a strong prompting to slow down, we very well might have been T-boned by him in that intersection. Was that our guardian angel warning me and causing me to slow down? I suggest that is a strong possibility, consistent with the psalm’s promise that God will send angels to deliver those who fear him. I think that incidents of heavenly intervention like this occur more often in our lives than we realize.
Jesus and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat when a furious storm hit them. Some of those disciples were experienced, professional fishermen, men who had spent many days and even nights on that body of water. But this fierce storm was so overwhelming that the men awakened the sleeping Jesus and cried out, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus rose up and spoke to the storm-driven waves, “Quiet! Be Still!” The wind died down and the lake became “completely calm.”
Are you facing a ferocious storm of any sort in your life? If so, look to Jesus in faith and prayer. Ask Him to calm the storm. Expect Him to speak to your storm-tossed waves His powerful: “Quiet! Be still!” Those words from the Lord and Savior are fully able to restore complete calm to your soul. How can this be? What enables Jesus to calm even the most furious squalls in your life? Please read on.
There is nothing that you’ll face on this earth that is not subject to the “all authority” of the Lord Jesus Christ. No natural enemy, no demon from hell, no sickness, no verbal attacks — all that and more are subject to the One who is “Lord of all.”
To the ancient Hebrew mind, the name and the person were one and the same. So when you pray to the Father in Jesus’ name, you are calling upon everything that Jesus IS — Savior … Healer … Deliverer … Baptizer in the Spirit … King of Kings … Lord of Lords … and much more. There are no problems, no difficulties, no furious squalls in your life that are beyond the Lord Jesus Christ’s power to conquer.
Jesus didn’t sugarcoat life in this world. He plainly told His followers, “In this world you will have trouble.” But because of Jesus, we don’t need to let troubles, trials, or tribulations defeat us. To the contrary, He says, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” In the midst of this world’s troubles, we have a peace-giving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Scriptures remind us in many places to expect His victory to spill over into our lives, no matter what the troubles:
The surrounding context of this verse was about running the Christian race victoriously, throwing off sin and other hindrances, persevering even when the race is difficult, and not growing weary and losing heart. Our inspiration in this comes from “looking unto Jesus … fixing our eyes on Jesus,” who endured even the Cross for the joy He foresaw beyond His redeeming death on the Cross.
Remember Jesus’ words: “In this world you will have trouble.” But to bring us victory in this world, and for eternity thereafter, Jesus endured the horrible pain of crucifixion. He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again for our justification. He Himself is the Solution for our troubles.
Like Jesus, we too can face trials, tribulations, even martyrdom, “for the joy set before [us].” He assured us that He, our Lord, has overcome the world. And He in turn causes His faithful followers to have victory … to be more than conquerors … and to triumph in Him.
In the midst of life’s “furious squalls,” look to Jesus, fix your eyes and your heart upon Him. Even in the midst of terrible storms, He can bring complete calm to your souls. And that is my prayer for you: complete calm from the Lord in the life storms you are facing.
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©2020, James H. Feeney.
& Bible Studies by
Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.d.