When troubles press in upon you from all sides, are you able to stand your ground? We all experience days where we feel deflated and just plain worn out. Our faith may wane and we become desperate for God to step in and provide a means of rescue. Let's face it, it's not always easy to hunker down and wait for the storms to pass. But it's during those times we need to hold fast to our faith.

The other day when I was standing on my deck, a sudden commotion of birds in the neighbor's yard caught my attention. A flurry of crows, magpies and blue jays all began to squawk incessantly while perched in a large Russian olive tree. Their agitated calls were obviously directed at something, but the question was what? So being a man of innate curiosity, I grabbed a patio chair to elevate my eye line over the back fence. It was then I nearly fell off my own perch!

The object of feathery discontent was a huge great horned owl! This beautiful bird of prey had for what-ever reason decided to roost himself and rest his weary wings despite an army of noisy neighborhood birds all intent on convincing him otherwise. But this owl stood his ground despite the bevy of trouble around him. In fact he remained in that tree for hours until the other birds finally gave up and I went to bed.

Watching the owl withstand harassment and jeering from his unhappy peers, and then remaining perfectly stoic reminded me that when life's unpleasant issues press into life, we have a powerful source of strength to tap into and that we need not fear. It's comforting to know that, "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble." (Psalms 46:1 NLT)

Did you notice it doesn't say that God is sometimes ready, or if he feels like it, or when he gets back from vacation? No! God is ALWAYS ready to help in our times of trouble. Our job is to hold our ground, lift our hands and pray. And we can also be assured that our prayers are heard. Why? Because it says so in Psalm 4:3: "The Lord will answer when I call to him." (NLT) I love those types of promises! Short and very concise! I draw comfort in knowing that I can drop to my knees at any time and seek shelter under God's wings.
 
I don't know what sort of things you're dealing with right now, but I can tell you that my own life is full of issues I'd rather not be faced with. But I've learned that when you have Jesus in your court, it's easier to stand your ground when the waters rise and winds blow. We have a Savior who lets us come as we are and where every day we can place our heavyhearted baggage at His feet. "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 NLT)

And then just like the owl standing his ground when all around him was chaos, we can rest assured that God will see us through when all we need is a solid branch, shelter and some much needed rest.

Paul Smyth