God is glorified when we give thanks (especially when it’s the last thing we feel like doing) but did you know that God is also glorified when we ask for His help?
Do not be anxious about anything—but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the shalom of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua. (Philippians 4:4-7)
Sometimes the storms of life can seem overwhelming, and we struggle to get our anxieties under control. We know that we should rejoice and give thanks in all circumstances, but sometimes it is a lot easier said than done.
We might find ourselves asking, as the first disciples did while caught in a serious storm, “Jesus, we’re in real trouble here! Don’t you care?”
Psalm 107 is a wonderful song that gives us God’s answers to many of life’s problems, and his balm to an anxious soul. It lists four kinds of trouble that God can help with; two of which are caused by our own sin, foolishness or rebellion, and the other two are just hard things that happen to us. But I want to just focus on one of the four here. The one for people who are caught up in a serious storm (verses 23-31):
Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
This feeling of being at our wits’ end is one I’m sure everyone can relate to. These guys were just doing their jobs, going about their business at sea, and got in an almighty mess that they did not choose. They were terrified, and in great danger. They were in trouble and distress.
But then they cried to the Lord, and God delivered them.
Notice, this Psalm talks about God’s sovereign power to control nature and calm the storm many hundreds of years before Jesus was born. God brought them to their desired haven and all was well in the end.
This should remind us of the story where Jesus says to his disciples, “Let’s go to the other side of the lake”.
The destiny and decision was made.
It was terrifying at points, and they were frightened for their lives, but they made it in the end. (Mark 4:35-41)
We need faith to believe that there is no storm that God cannot help us with. There is no situation we can find ourselves in where God is unable to deliver.
Instead of complaining about the situation to others as the Israelites did in the desert, we can turn to God and take our complaints directly to Him, as Moses did in times of trouble. We need to turn to God and ask for help, with faith that He is able to deliver. He might not deliver us out of the storm, but He can ALWAYS help us in the storm. And He will ultimately take us to where we need to be.
He can be trusted. He is faithful. We can have faith.
In the same way, I was wondering how to best glorify God in my life, and felt led to Psalm 50, where the answer is quite clear:
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (v 14-15)
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (v 23)
God is glorified not only when we give thanks in the midst of trouble, but also when we call upon him for help.
It surprised me slightly to read that – God is glorified when we call upon him for help in our day of trouble. Did you know that?
Thanksgiving is a way of showing faith, and reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness.
Calling upon him for help is also an expression of faith: that He is able to deliver us.
It is also interesting the way that Psalm 107 (such a glorious Psalm! So much meat in there!) begins and ends. It starts like this:
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble”
Yes, there it is again. The importance of thanking God – of “saying so”. And it ends like this:
“Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”
Indeed. Because we now know that even more than being able to help us in the storm, Jesus can even help us to walk right over it.