Only one hand can ease the trouble
(J. C. Philpot, "Refuge For The Oppressed")
"The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble!" Psalm 9:9
Do you not see how the Scriptures always put
together the malady and the remedy? How they
unfold the promises as suitable to certain states
and cases of soul? And how all the perfections of
God are adapted to His people only so far as they
are brought into peculiar circumstances? This vein
runs through all the Scripture.
So here the Lord is declared to be a refuge. But when?
"In times of trouble!" We do not need Him to be a refuge
when there is no trouble. Shall I use the expression
without irreverence--'We can do without Him then.'
We can . . .
love the world,
amuse ourselves with the things of time and sense,
let our heads go astray after perishing, transitory vanities,
set up an idol in our heart,
bow down before a 'golden god',
have our affections wholly fixed on those naturally dear to us,
get up in the morning, pass through the day,
and lie down at night--very well without God.
But when times of trouble come, when afflictions lie
heavily upon us, when we are brought into those scenes
of tribulation through which we must pass to arrive at
the heavenly Canaan; then we need something more
than flesh and blood; then we need something more
than the perishing creature can unfold; then we need
something more than this vain world can amuse us with!
We then need God! We need His everlasting arms to
be underneath our souls; we need His consolations;
we need something from the Lord's own lips dropped
with the Lord's own power into our hearts!
These times of soul trouble make God's people know
that the Lord is their refuge. If I am in soul trouble;
if my heart is surcharged with guilt; if my conscience
is lacerated with the pangs of remorse--
Can the creature give me relief?
Can friends dry the briny tear?
Can they still the convulsive sigh?
Can they calm the troubled breast?
Can they pour oil and wine into the bleeding conscience?
No! They are utterly powerless in the matter!
They may increase our troubles, and they often, like
Job's friends, do so! But they cannot alleviate it!
Only one hand can ease the trouble--the same hand
which laid it on! Only one hand can heal the wound;
the same which mercifully inflicted it!
Now, in these times of soul trouble, if ever we have
felt them--we shall make the Lord our refuge.
There is no other to go to! We may try every arm but
His--we may look every way but the right way--and
we may lean upon every staff but the true one. But,
sooner or later, we shall be brought to this spot--that
none but the Lord God Almighty, who made heaven and
earth, who brought our souls and bodies into being, who
has kept and preserved us to the present hour, who is
around our bed, and about our path, and spies out all
our ways, and who has sent his dear Son to pay for our
sin--that none but this eternal Creator, Preserver, and
Redeemer, who made and upholds heaven and earth--
can speak peace, pardon, and consolation to our hearts!
How sweet it is in these times of trouble to have a God to
go to; to feel that there are everlasting arms to lean upon;
that there is a gracious ear into which we may pour our
afflictions; that there is a heart, a sympathizing heart, in
the bosom of the Lord of life and glory, which feels for us;
to know that there is a hand to relieve, and to experience,
at times, relief from that Almighty and gracious hand!