“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
I have come to realize that when it comes to the well being of His children, God does nothing sparingly. For instance, He doesn’t just save them; He saves them “to the uttermost.” Here we have yet another example of God’s extravagance on our behalf. For my part, I admit I would have been perfectly content to know God has promised to be present in those times when I am in trouble. But that wasn’t good enough for Him. Oh no! He had to make sure I knew the extent of His safekeeping and the caliber of His care; so He promised to be a very present help. What’s the difference? I’m glad you asked.
First, adding the adverb “very” indicates greater intensity that goes beyond the normal, with an added dimension. Think of the school child who answers, “Present,” when the roll is called; but who actually is a million miles away in his mind. He may be thinking of everything else but school, and is actually just taking up space. Not so with our God. Psalm 40:5 says of Him that His very thoughts are “us-ward.” And David extols the Lord in Psalm 139:17 by saying, “How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” God is not just present in my time of need, He is intent on my every prayer, even when I cannot find the words to say them (Rom. 8:26). I have His undivided attention.
Second, and perhaps best of all, a very present God speaks of intimacy reserved for someone special. It is not without significance that this promise is made especially to those “in trouble.” Think again of a child; this time a hurting one. This is one time when our Father God displays characteristics we usually associate with a mother. (After all, He is a “single parent.”) When circumstances put others outside the sphere of help, and when even the Words of God swim before our tear-dimmed eyes, the God who is our “refuge and strength” cuddles our souls with His “very present” Presence. It is an intimacy that assumes privacy, so I will refrain from elaborating further.
Suffice it to say, God is the very present Help for the very troubled saint.