Have you ever felt that you are capable of solving whatever problem may come your way? Many people in the world are so self-sufficient they do not believe that they require help. Yet, all human beings, at some point in their life, will face a problem or situation that forces them to realize their need for help. And as we draw nearer to the end of the world, it will become very clear just how much we will need the Lord’s help.
“In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off.” The Desire of Ages, 121. The truth is, some of the very troubles and trials we will go through will turn out to be the greatest blessings in our lives because they will lead us to seek divine help and thereby draw closer to God. Now is the time to develop the needed connection with the Source of that help so when the time comes when no earthly help can be found, we will be confident in knowing how and where to obtain it.
On April 15, 1912, with 2,224 souls aboard, having disregarded the multiple reports of heavy ice in the North Atlantic Ocean, the unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg. The resulting gash opened six forward compartments on her starboard side to the incoming sea. If the gash had caused only four of her forward compartments to flood, the Titanic, though crippled, might have managed to make her way to port or to stay afloat at least long enough for help to arrive. But she had sustained too much damage and she sank in two hours and forty-five minutes, taking with her more than 1,500 lives.
During those terrifying, almost three hours, the Titanic repeatedly called for assistance until the encroaching water made it impossible to continue. The RMS Carpathia was the closest ship to the Titanic at the time she hit the iceberg. The Titanic needed help, but even at top speed the Carpathia was unable to arrive until an hour and a half after the ship that could not sink had already upended and slipped beneath the smooth surface of the sea.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1. This is a scripture that God’s children will be quoting repeatedly as we near the end of the world. But many people, while they believe God can help, also feel that He is too far away.
Here, however, is the good news: If you are in trouble, God is not far away. He is very present, very close to give aid. In fact, Acts 17:28 tells us, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” That is the kind of help we need in times of trouble.
“Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” Psalm 46:2. The Bible does not deal in fictional poetry. This is real. It hasn’t happened yet, but it is going to happen. At the time of the seventh plague, Revelation 16:20 says, “Every island was moved out of its place, and the mountains were not found.” And Ellen White said that during the millennium, huge caverns where the mountains had been torn from their foundations would be seen. This is catastrophic destruction.
Mountains, for thousands of years, have been places of refuge where people felt secure during times of persecution. The Waldenses and Huguenots fled to the safety of the mountains. The French king sent armies to destroy them, but they were unable to maneuver their troops through the mountains and therefore could not reach them.
The time is coming when God’s people will be hiding in the mountains, but the Bible says that the mountains will disappear, even the mountains in the midst of the sea. Should God’s people be afraid? God has a way to protect His own. Our security is not in the mountains but in the God who created them. He says to us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10, first part
Many of the largest cities in the world are seaport cities—cities that Ellen White says are as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah. Just before Jesus comes, these seaport cities will be swallowed up by the angry waters of the sea. What if one of God’s children is imprisoned in one of these cities? God is in charge of the safety of His children and He has a way already planned to save them.
The three Hebrew worthies went into the fiery furnace, but the fire did not harm them because God was with them. It will be that way for us, too, if we have been faithful to God. No one else can provide this kind of help, but God can and will. With the mountains disappearing into the sea, the waves roaring and being troubled, seaport cities being swallowed up, nations raging and all gathering together for the battle of Armageddon, “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46:7. God will be our refuge and we will have nothing to fear from mountains or seas or fire.
When Moses first went before Pharaoh to request that the children of Israel be set free, Pharaoh’s response was, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2. Most of the world today says, in their hearts at least, this very thing; many loudly declare it. “Who is God that I should obey Him?” They have no regard for the Bible and ignore it or seek to destroy it all together. The people of God, those who live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God are despised and the gospel they try to preach to the world is rejected.
But what happened after Pharaoh’s arrogant display of contempt toward God and after the ten plagues had fallen on Egypt? Pharaoh called Moses to him and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the Lord as you have said.” Exodus 12:31. In fact, the people of Egypt urged the children of Israel to leave before all the Egyptians would die (verse 33).
God saved the children of Israel from out of Egypt and led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to the Red Sea. Compelled by his stubborn, unconverted heart, Pharaoh followed them to bring them back to Egypt. But God parted the sea and led His children to safety on the other side. When the Egyptians followed them, God hindered their ability to retreat and released the sea to close over them and destroy them.
The Bible tells us that we can be as confident of God’s power to save us as were the children of Israel, standing on the shores of the Red Sea.
After the seven last plagues have come, after the battle of Armageddon is fought, the devil will finally realize that he will never be able to torment or trouble God’s people again. The 144,000 will be sealed in their foreheads and all His children alive or resurrected at His coming will for all eternity be set free from the bondage of sin.
To be ready for this terrible and amazing time, we will need help. Even the strongest person will still need divine help to go through to the end. Jesus has help enough for everyone who seeks it, from the weakest to the strongest.
“The only begotten Son of God came to this world to redeem the fallen race. He has given us evidence of His great power. He will enable those who receive Him to build up characters free from all the tendencies that Satan reveals.” The Signs of the Times, January 3, 1906. Jesus will help us to develop a character free from all evil tendencies. Naturally tempted by our own sinful nature to do wrong, we are also tempted by the devil and the world. This is specifically expressed in Romans 6, 7, and 8.
Temptations come to us through a number of avenues. We must be responsible to make right choices regarding what we allow to enter. Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation.” We cannot deliberately provide for and enter into temptation and expect God to save us in sin, nor work a miracle to save us from sin.
As Christians, we must use spiritual judgment regarding what we listen to, what we watch or read, even what we allow or put into our bodies. Mrs. White says that if the devil can control the appetite, he can control the whole man (Temperance, 276). The worldly things we read take us away from the study of the Bible and prayer. The things we listen to can fill our minds with thoughts that will war against the spiritual truths that we find in the word of God. The things we see can encourage us to emulate the world rather than the character of God. We cannot invite the world into our hearts and minds, for when we do, we will have no desire to partake of the strength which Jesus offers to help us overcome sin.
“We can resist the enemy and all his forces. The battle will be won, the victory gained, by him who chooses Christ as his leader, determined to do right because it is right.” The Signs of the Times, January 3, 1906. Even if you are the weakest one, you can resist the enemy and all his forces and be victorious.
“Our divine Lord is equal to any emergency. With Him nothing is impossible.” Ibid.
The Bible solidly cements this thought. When the angel came to give Mary the news of Jesus’ birth, she could not see, from a human point of view, how this could be possible. She said, “ ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One [that holy thing] who is to be born will be called the Son of God. … For with God nothing will be impossible.’ ” Luke 1:34, 35, 37
“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.” Jeremiah 32:17
God told Abraham he would have a son and Sarah laughed because she was old, and from a human perspective, this would be impossible. But in God’s time, Sarah did have a child and named him Isaac, which means laughter. God waited until it was impossible for either Sarah or Abraham to have a son (Romans 4:19) and then worked a miracle to show that nothing is impossible with Him.
In Mark 9:23, we are told of a father who brought his son possessed of an evil spirit to Jesus. Speaking to Jesus he said, “ ‘If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.’ ” This man was afraid that because of his unbelief his son would not be healed, but Jesus told him to believe and all things would be possible (see The Desire of Ages, 429).
Speaking of those with worldly wealth Jesus said, “ ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ ” It says that the disciples were exceedingly amazed. They said, “ ‘Who then can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ ” Matthew 19:24–26; Mark 10:25–27; Luke 18:25–27. A few days after this exchange, we find the example of Zacchaeus. A wealthy tax collector, Zacchaeus heard the truth preached by Jesus and was converted. He accepted the help Jesus offered and yielded himself to the control of the Holy Spirit, and in doing so he received victory over sin and temptation.
We see also the example of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus delivered her from guilt, but also gave her a new heart and this was the beginning of a new, pure life. This was a mighty miracle, though to the human eye nothing much seemed to have happened. We are more impressed with the physical things we can see happen or can touch. But what Jesus did for this woman was far greater than any physical healing.
“He who commits his soul to Jesus need not despond. We have an all-powerful Saviour. … In the future life we shall understand things that here greatly perplex us. We shall realize how strong a Helper we had, and how angels of God were commissioned to guard us as we followed the counsel of the word of God.” The Signs of the Times, January 3, 1906
“To all who receive Him Christ will give power to become the sons of God. He is a present help in every time of need. Let us be ashamed of our wavering faith. Those who are overcome have only themselves to blame for their failure to resist the enemy. All who choose can come to Christ and find the help they need.” Ibid.
One of our biggest problems is that we tend to look to each other for help when the help we really need is found only in God. Mrs. White says, “Satan and his angels are urging on their warfare against the truth. We must have help. But the help we need will not come from human beings.”
“Trustful dependence on Jesus makes victory not only possible, but certain.” Ibid. This brings much courage and comfort to the heart seeking desperately for the help necessary to get through these troublous times. It would be a good statement to commit to memory. We may have all kinds of powerful temptations on the outside and inside that seem impossible to overcome, and we may be the weakest of the weak, a most sinful human being. But if we depend on the strength of Jesus Christ, victory is certain.
“Tho multitudes be pressing on in the wrong way, tho the outlook be ever so discouraging, yet we may have full assurance in our Leader; for ‘I am God,’ He declares, ‘and there is none else.’ He is infinite in power, and able to save all who come to Him. There is no other in whom we can safely trust.” Ibid.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Martyrs, on their way to the torture chamber would quote: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13. We can lean on this same assurance.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2–4
“In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Saviour. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ John 6:37. Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.’ You can never perish while you do this—never.” The Desire of Ages, 429
God’s promises can never fail because God stands behind every one. No matter how bad troubles or circumstances might get, we have a divine Lord that is equal to any emergency. Nobody needs to be lost. Everyone who wants it can have eternal life. They need only to place trustful dependence in Jesus. That makes victory not only possible, but certain. [Emphasis supplied.]
Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.