So what makes you think you deserve God's help? You have been faithful in your service and worship. You have been kind to others. You have tried to follow all his instructions. You have served him for 20 years. You have paid your tithe. You have sacrificed time and effort. So here you are facing some kind of crisis or difficulty and you expect some pay back. Oh, you would never use those words but you find it in your attitude:
Hear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God; save your servant
who trusts in you. (Psalm 86:1-2)
Change the "for" to because and we have our attitude, "Guard my life because..." I am devoted to you, I love you, I am good, I give to the poor, or anything else we want to insert. I know because I have been there many times. The problem is it doesn't work that way.
God will rescue us but not because of what we have done but instead because of who he is. He will rescue us because of his love for us. He will answer our prayers because of his great mercy. He will reach down and pluck us out of the pit we are lost in because of his tremendous grace. In times of trouble do not turn to who you are but instead remember who our God is:
You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, O LORD;
listen to my cry for mercy.
In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me. (Psalm 86:5-7)
The fact is that our faithful service for 30 years does not add up to anything. Who we are in Christ makes us children of the Living God, but even that does not rescue us. In times of trouble our greatest comfort is to remember the character of our Father, to know the promises he has made to us because of who he is, to remember what he has done in the past, and to worship him with great joy for who our God is:
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, O Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God. (Psalm 86:8-10)
You alone are God. Lord, rescue me according to your unfailing love. I know who you are and I worship you. I trust you because I could have no greater rescuer than you. Great are you. Great are your deeds. You are more marvellous than words could ever describe. You are great and glorious and from you I have learned what it is to love. I consider it a miracle that you would even consider my state right now but I know, according to your Word and your deeds from the past, that your eye is on me, due to your unfailing love, and you will guide me through these days.
Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave. (Psalm 86:11-13)
It is not a matter of IF God will rescue us but when and how. It may not be exactly as you want or how you asked but it will be according to God's great wisdom and it will always be what is best for us according to that wisdom. Again and again we are told to trust our God. Trust is an act of love and we have been told that the number one priority that we have in this life is to love our God with our entire being. That means trust him with our entire being. That means trust that God says who he says he is. Do not trust in who you are or what you have done. Do not trust your righteousness or anything else about you. Trust the Christ in you. Trust the Father's love for the Jesus he sees in you. He is our Father of promises.
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and have mercy on me;
grant your strength to your servant
and save the son of your maidservant. (Psalm 86:15-16)
I give you this word of encouragement for the days that lay ahead of us. No matter what you face remember that salvation does not depend on your righteousness but instead on Jesus'. Remember that we do not merit anything but because of his great unfailing love he gives us everything by his grace. Remember, rescue, in whatever form it takes, is not dependent on our actions but on the character of our God. In the daylight and in the dark of night, worship the Lord Jesus Christ for who he is and for what he has done and don't ever let go. Do not let go because he alone is God and there is no one like him. No, not one! Only Jesus. Worship him in the midst of your tears and joys today and he will lift you up! Praise! Call on his name! Dance before him with great expectation! Allow your tears to be turned to joy as the Lord overwhelms you in his great love. Rejoice!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)