God is your refuge in times of trouble

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Psalm 43


In the wake of an historic Supreme Court decision that has left so many believers saddened and afraid for what’s to come, the best thoughts of all are not those I could share from my heart, but those God would share from His.

In the calendar of content that guides this devotional series, today brought us to Psalm 43.  I invite you to read it slowly and prayerfully, and as you do, may you find hope in this truth: God is your refuge in times of trouble.

-Pastor Phillip


“Vindicate me, God, and defend my cause 

against an ungodly nation; 

rescue me from the deceitful and unjust man. 

For You are the God of my refuge. 


Why have You rejected me? 

Why must I go about in sorrow 

because of the enemy’s oppression? 

Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me. 

Let them bring me to Your holy mountain, 

to Your dwelling place. 

Then I will come to the altar of God, 

to God, my greatest joy. 

I will praise You with the lyre, 

God, my God. 


Why am I so depressed? 

Why this turmoil within me? 

Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, 

my Savior and my God.”


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Sometimes Jesus works in secret

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 7


[Jesus said] “You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”  After saying this, He remained in Galilee. But after His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He also went up, not publicly but in private. The Jews were looking for Him at the feast, and saying, “Where is He?”  (John 7:8-11)

Have you ever found yourself asking, “Where is God?”

To His brothers and sisters, Jesus had been behaving rather oddly for someone who was supposed to be a public speaker.  They told Him that He should go make Himself known to the crowd, start building a name for Himself, get some good publicity, but Jesus had refused.

Now, however, He goes up to the feast without telling anyone!  Here He is, being sneaky, showing up quietly then standing up publicly in the middle of the occasion later on (verse 14).  Why?

Because Jesus knows details that we don’t.

He had told His siblings flat-out, “My time has not yet fully come,” basically letting them know that there is a proper order to things that depends on lots of factors that they don’t know about, but that He does.  He refused to follow their timetable because His timetable is always the better option in the big picture, and He’s the only one who can see the big picture.  Then, when the time was right, He took action at last.

He does the same thing in our lives as well.

Maybe you’re wondering “Where is God?” in your situation.  Maybe you look back at a time of pain and question where He was then.  Maybe you look ahead to something that brings anxiousness and wonder if He’ll be there for you in your hour of need.

Don’t let your senses take priority over your spirit.  Don’t let your feelings take over your faith.

God is not absent or uninterested.  He has not abandoned you.  He has not left you to fend for yourself.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.  He is working out the details that you don’t know about, smoothing out the situations you can’t see, and when the time is right, He will take action at last.

May you trust Him today, and as you remember that His ways are higher than yours, may you find hope in this truth: sometimes Jesus works in secret.

-Pastor Phillip

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Jesus wants to calm your fear

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Matthew 14


In the fourth watch of the night [Jesus] came to them, walking on the sea.  But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I.  Do not be afraid.”  (Matthew 14:25-27)

In the days of Jesus, the fourth watch of the night was a timeframe between 3:00 and 6:00 in the morning.  The disciples had set sail before sundown the previous day, and a mighty storm had been blowing all night.

It’s no wonder they cried out in fear at the sight of Jesus.  Every ounce of their being was being strained by this mighty storm and they must have been mentally exhausted.  Not only that, but they had no point of reference, no category by which they could have even conceived of a man walking on the water.

Yet, there was Jesus, strolling on the sea.

I find it so fascinating, so comforting to see what Jesus says to His disciples in this moment as they mistake their friend for a phantom.  He doesn’t rebuke them for not seeing more clearly.  He doesn’t berate them for not acting more bravely.  He doesn’t tell them they should toughen up, row harder, quit whining or get a grip on themselves.

He says, “Take heart; it is I.  Do not be afraid.”

He doesn’t try to make them feel like wimps.  He tries to help them see that He is with them in their fear.

He wants to do the same for you, if you’ll let Him.

Are you in a place of struggle?

Are you weary and worn, and perhaps a little prone to worrying right now?

Are you in a season or circumstance that you don’t recognize, in waters you’ve never sailed, challenges you’ve never faced?

Are you finding it hard to see Jesus in the tempest?

Take heart!

Just because the storm is unfamiliar doesn’t mean your Savior is uninvolved.  If you’re in Christ, He is with you and working and inviting you to rest in His presence.

He may not give you all the explanations you want, but if you put your trust in Him, He will give you all the peace that you need.

Whatever season or storm you’re experiencing right now, may your heart be lifted in hope as you respond to this truth: Though He may not always stop the storm, Jesus wants to calm your fear.

-Pastor Phillip

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