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From The Chaplain's Desk
August 2015 Chaplain's Corner: God is our refuge and strength

By Charles Dimmick, State Chaplain

  AUGUST 7, 2015 --

The psalmist says: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” We need to remember this when things are going wrong. And, as we all know, things don’t always go right. Troubles come in many forms, sometimes personal and sometimes all too impersonal. God never promised us that we would live trouble-free lives. In fact, in the 16th chapter of John’s Gospel Jesus tells us clearly that “In this world you will have trouble”. But He did promise us that he would be there when we needed him.

There are some people who have the mistaken idea that God will only help you if you are deserving of help. Or that we need to prove to God that we are worthy. They may quote an old proverb, which is definitely NOT in the Bible that “God helps those who help themselves”. This saying is actually derived from an old Greek adage: “the gods help those who help themselves” And Sophocles, in one of his plays, says “heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act.”. However, the thought behind this is directly contradicted by the Bible which tells us that God helps the helpless. 

Of course it is possible to take dependence on God to extremes. We need to make it easier for God to help us and not to fight or ignore His help when it is available. And we need to stay alert to recognize when His help is being offered. One of my favorite stories about God’s offer of help goes something like this:

A terrible storm came into a town and local officials sent out an emergency warning that the riverbanks would soon overflow and flood the nearby homes. They ordered everyone in the town to evacuate immediately.

A faithful Christian man heard the warning and decided to stay, saying to himself, “I will trust God and if I am in danger, then God will send a divine miracle to save me.”

The neighbors came by his house and said to him, “We’re leaving and there is room for you in our car, please come with us!” But the man declined. “I have faith that God will save me.”

As the man stood on his porch watching the water rise up the steps, a man in a canoe paddled by and called to him, “Hurry and come into my canoe, the waters are rising quickly!” But the man again said, “No thanks, God will save me.”

The floodwaters rose higher pouring water into his living room and the man had to retreat to the second floor. A police motorboat came by and saw him at the window. “We will come up and rescue you!” they shouted. But the man refused, waving them off saying, “Use your time to save someone else! I have faith that God will save me!”

The flood waters rose higher and higher and the man had to climb up to his rooftop.

A helicopter spotted him and dropped a rope ladder. A rescue officer came down the ladder and pleaded with the man, “Grab my hand and I will pull you up!” But the man STILL refused, folding his arms tightly to his body. “No thank you! God will save me!”

Shortly after, the house broke up and the floodwaters swept the man away and he drowned.

When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, “I put all of my faith in You. Why didn’t You come and save me?”

And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”


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