Make the Lord your strength

A certain man was driving very fast down a long straight stretch on a Texas highway one hot afternoon. No other cars were in sight, but up ahead the driver saw the form of a large bird bending over a dead rabbit lying in the middle of the road. As he got closer a huge hawk straightened up defiantly and looked directly at the car. In stead of taking flight, as these birds normally do, the giant hawk spread its wings almost blocking the road and challenged the speeding car. A loud thud was heard as the car struck it and the proud challenging bird lay dead on the road.

Later on, the man saw the small rounded form of a turtle making its journey across the road. The turtle looked up and saw the car coming. He didn't run, he didn't dodge out of the way, nor did he challenge the car. Instead the turtle stopped and pulled in all four legs and its head into its shell. Thump the turtle was dead. As he continued to drive, saddened by the death of both creatures and angry at himself for not slowing down in time, he suddenly thought how both animals were a good illustration of two different kinds of people.

There is one group of people which proudly looks at life and says I can get through everything that life throws at me - I don't need the help of God, because believe I can deal with it all myself. Thud they can't. The other group of people ignores trouble, believing that it will somehow disappear if they don't think about it. They close their eyes thinking problems will go away. Thump they didn't.

So how should we confront the problems of life? Certainly not with proud defiance; it is a foolish individual who really believes that they can cope with whatever should happen without God'
s help and sustaining power. Likewise it is equally foolish to deal with problems by ignoring them. Problems simply do not vanish by pretending they don't exist.

The Bible gives us the correct response. The right way to deal with the problems and troubles of this world is by preparing ones inner spiritual resources in advance; in other words by developing and nurturing a deep relationship with God. Doing this means that when trouble does come we have inner provisions which will help us ride out any storm.

One of the greatest needs people have today is for someone or something to trust in and rely upon. This need is getting greater all the time because we are living in an increasingly insecure world. Psychologists say that human beings have an inbuilt need for this security. They need something that will be an anchor for them in times of trouble; something that they can be sure will never disappear or fail them. The incessant cry is who or what can we trust? when all around is change, decay and trouble.

Thankfully there is Someone Whom we can absolutely trust- a Being Who is Eternal in His Changelessness. Having a deep personal relationship with God provides the security for which humans crave. In the Eternal Being of God we can find real security and certainty; Someone Who will never let us down. Having such a relationship with God means that an individual can remain calm amidst the storm. They are secure in the knowledge that no matter what difficulties they face, God will grant them His strength, guidance and His Companionship so that they need never fear being deserted, abandoned or left unable to cope. This feeling of security and certainty is a gift God bestows on all those who seriously follow Him.

To receive this security which God alone offers, an individual must walk closely with God day by day and they must constantly work at their relationship with Him in order to make it strong and deep. They need to be diligent in their Bible reading and praying, faithful in listening to their conscience and obedient in following the Commandments and the will of God in their personal lives. There is no security without having this real relationship with God but if they do form one, then whenever they are afraid, they will be lifted to the calm of His Eternal Presence and His peace will still their troubled minds. The inner spiritual resources God provides will enable them to ride out any storm.

During the years between the First and Second World Wars, the French built an 87 mile long defensive wall called the Maginot Line. This great wall was to defend their border with Germany and three lines of defence were incorporated into it. The first was a series of small fortified barracks designed to sound the alarm. The second line was composed of reinforced bunkers to delay enemy attack. The third line of defence, was however, quite unique being in the form of deeply buried multi-storied forts. Below each of the barracks, at the deepest level were further storehouses of ammunition, food and a constant supply of fresh water from wells.

When the Germans did invade France in the Second World War, not a single one of these forts was ever overcome or taken by the German Army. The German military knew that soldiers could survive and resist almost indefinitely because they were so well prepared and had such deeply buried resources.

In a similar manner the Bible teaches that individuals must develop a deep relationship with the Lord so that they have adequate fortifications against the problems of life. The only line of defence that really works is to have deep within us a Spiritual Resource, hidden, abundant, and untouchable. God Himself is this Resource because only He can be relied upon absolutely and under all circumstances. Anything less than having Him in our lives leaves us vulnerable, weak and spiritually disabled.

If an individual is walking closely with God day by day, if He is at the centre of their hearts and lives and they are obeying Him diligently, then they need not fear the assault of life's enemies. May we, like King David be able to say Whom shall I fear, if the Lord is the Strength of my life? Of whom shall I be afraid? for in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His tabernacle Wait on the Lord and be of good courage, for He will strengthen your heart. Psalm 27vs 1, 5 and 14.