How seriously can we take the Psalmist's statement ''God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble''? n1 Certainly it is a comforting thought, but is it practical? Many of us want to be able to trust in something other than ourselves, for we are well aware of our own limitations. But isn't it just wishful thinking to believe that God is actually available to help us in any kind of trouble? We might even wonder whether God is too busy to notice our little problems.
n1 Psalms 46:1.
God is not a ''Chief Executive Officer'' on a grand scale, involved in choosing priorities, feeling busy and pressured, running out of time. It would indeed be foolish to place our trust in such a deity.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives a very different sense of Deity in her definition of God in the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. This definition, when we begin to understand it, enables us to trust our creator. She writes: ''God. The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence.'' n2
n2 Science and Health, p. 587.
This definition of God requires us to give up thinking of Him as a corporeal person with super powers. As we study this definition, we begin to glimpse the infinite nature of God, good. We give up some of our matter-based, limited thinking when we understand God as infinite Spirit.
Even a glimmer of understanding of God's nature is practical and effective when one is in trouble. Our daughter, in her early teens, has been learning in the Christian Science Sunday School to turn to God to meet her every need. One Saturday last fall she had a chance to prove what she had been learning.
While shopping with a friend in a large and very crowded shopping mall, she suddenly realized she no longer had her wallet. In it was the fifty dollars she had saved to use for Christmas presents. Her first response was fear, but she quickly began to pray to quiet the fear.
Right there in that bustling, noisy mall, she reasoned along these lines: ''I don't know where my wallet is, but it is my wallet and its right place is with me. God is all-knowing, and He knows that I am complete, that I cannot be without anything that is rightfully mine and that I need. Nothing can be lost to God. Everything is under His control.''
She had been diligently reasoning and praying for some minutes when she was surprised to hear herself being paged over the mall's public-address system. And she continued to pray as she made her way to the information desk. Her wallet, and all the money, had been turned in. She never knew where the wallet had been or who had left it, but her gratitude was great. She thanked God for being indeed ''a very present help in trouble.'' The experience helped her trust God even more.
Someone might say, ''The wallet would have been turned in anyway. Why was prayer necessarily a factor in this situation?'' Materially based reasoning would leave God out of the picture and insist that things turn out the same with or without prayer. But the fact remains that God governs man in perfect harmony, and this truth underlies all that is truly good in human life.
The more we understand God, the more we can trust Him, for we learn that in reality everything is under His control. When we challenge the thought that we can ever be anywhere that is outside the range of God's loving care and protection - challenge it with the understanding that He is omnipresent good and the only power - we will see practical evidence in our lives of the trustworthiness of God. DAILY BIBLE VERSE O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. . . . It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. . . . The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. Psalms 118:1, 8, 14