In the lengthened duration of trials, the eyes fail with looking upward, the voice of prayer grows faint, and in a moment of weakness, the faithfulness of God is almost questioned, as if we should go mourning to the very end of our days. It is at such a season that He who delights to "comfort them that are cast down," realizes to the view of faith the unchangeable faithfulness of His commandments with respect to His people. In this recollection we can "look up and lift up our heads," and "go on our way," if not "rejoicing," yet at least with humble acquiescence; assured, that in the perseverance of faith and hope, we shall ultimately be "more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
Many Old Testament histories beautifully illustrate the reward of this simplicity of faith in temporal emergencies. When Asa's "hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob," "his bow abode in strength." When at a subsequent period he "trusted in man, and made flesh his arm, and his heart departed from the Lord," he became, like Samson, "weak, and as another man." So true is it, that no past communications of Divine strength can stand in the stead of the daily habit of dependence upon the Lord, without which we are utterly helpless, and are overthrown in every conflict. Our best prosperity, therefore, is to leave our cause in His hands, looking upward in the simplicity of wretchedness for His help: 'All Your commandments are faithful; they persecute me wrongfully; help me. Wretched and forlorn I am; but Your truth is my shield.'
Believer! This is your only posture of resistance. Should you enter the field of conflict without this "shield of faith," some crevice will be found in your panoply, through which a "fiery dart" will inflict a poisonous wound." But how can faith be exercised without a distinct acquaintance with the object of faith? We cannot repose trust in, or expect help from, an unknown God—an offended God, whom every day's transgression has made our enemy. There must, then, be reconciliation, before there can be help. Those, therefore, who are unreconciled by the death of Christ, cry for help to a God, who does not hear, accept, or answer, them. But when Christ is known as "the peace," and the way of access to God, what instance can there be of trial or difficulty, when our reliance upon the Lord will fail? Not indeed that we shall always return from the throne of grace with the wished-for relief. For too often we bring our burden before the Lord, and yet through distrust neglect to leave it with Him. Oh! let us remember, when we go to Jesus, that we go to a tried, long-proved, and faithful friend. Dependence upon Him is victory. "The good fight" is the fight "of faith." We are best able to resist our enemy upon our knees; and even such a short prayer as this—Help me—will bring down the strength of Omnipotence on our side. But we might as well expect to crush a giant with a straw, as to enter the spiritual conflict with weapons of carnal warfare. Every trial realizes experimentally the help of a faithful Savior. He does indeed deliver gloriously; and leaves us nothing to do, but to "stand still," wonder, and praise. "Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you today; for the Egyptians, whom you have seen today, you shall see them again no more forever."
"All your commandments are faithful." He had no fault to find with God's law, even though he had fallen into sad trouble through obedience to it Whatever the command might cost him, it was worth it; he felt that God's way might be rough, but it was right; it might make him enemies, but still it was his best friend. He believed that in the end God's command would turn out to his own profit, and that he should be no loser by obeying it.
"They persecute me wrongfully." The fault lay with his persecutors, and neither with his God nor with himself. He had done no injury to anyone, nor acted otherwise than according to truth and justice; therefore he confidently appeals to his God, and cries, "help me." This is a golden prayer, as precious as it is short The words are few, but the meaning is full. Help was needed that the persecuted one might avoid the snare, might bear up under reproach, and might act so prudently as to baffle his foes. God's help is our hope. Whoever may hurt us, it matters not so long as the Lord helps us; for if indeed the Lord help us, none can really hurt us. Many a time have these words been groaned out by troubled saints, for they are such as suit a thousand conditions of need, pain, distress, weakness, and sin. "Help, Lord," will be a fitting prayer for youth and age, for labor and suffering, for life and death. No other help is sufficient, but God's help is all-sufficient, and we cast ourselves upon it without fear.