Anyone who has experienced God’s presence knows that there isn’t anything better on earth or in heaven that we have to look forward to than God’s presence. Just that sometimes it’s hard to get into the Lord’s court. The Lord’s Court is not some kind of physical place on earth – like a building or a church. The Lord’s Court is a spiritual place that exists wherever we are but we don’t always realize we are in it.
You can see the Lord’s Court with your eyes of faith. The Lord’s Court is a place that you see with you heart, and feel in your soul, and understand with your mind. It is all around you. It is even in you.
“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
The Kingdom and God and the Lord’s Court is within us.
The psalmist says: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere”.
So if the Kingdom of God is in us, and the Lord’s Court is all around us, why do we get so discouraged and depressed on a daily basis. Okay, maybe some of you don’t experience that – but some of us do. Either because we are too tired, or we are disabled, or our spouses don’t treat us they way we want them too, or because we don’t have a spouse, or we can’t pay our bills, or our debt is too high. There are a million things that we endure as human beings upon the earth and that we must continue to endure until the day we die.
So our joy is not based upon the absence of our problems but rather on the presence of the Lord.
We are always going to have problems. Even Jesus said it: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Please note that Jesus said many. Jesus said we would have many trials and sorrows, not just a few troubles and sorrows, but a lot of them.
Job said: “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.”
Jesus said: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.”
David said: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?
Moses said: “I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”
Jonah said: “Just kill me now, LORD! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
You know what? Sometimes life just sucks.
And then we notice that flame burning in our hearts. We feel the joy…..we see this light of hope starting to appear on the horizon. Is it real? Yes it is.
In Psalm 46:1 God says He is an ever present help in times of trouble. I get it. God doesn’t say I am the one who will come and fix all your problem in times of trouble; He says I will be present with you in times of trouble. This is the great joy. This is the great mystery. This is what gives us great peace and joy in the midst of our trouble. God Himself.
Jesus said I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly. God’s presence in our lives is what can sustain us during the difficulties. He is the one who can help us through all our challenges and fears. People who commit suicide lose sight of this: they stop seeing that it is God who is present with them all the time. There is always hope because God is always with us.
So tonight, as my daughter lingers in a hospital bed crippled by a devastating disease, as my son slowly shows signs of the same disease, we will drive out to visit her. Then tonight my son will be baptized and we will sing praises to our Great God and we will rejoice with tears in our eyes…praising Him and singing to Him. We will rejoice that God is an ever present help in times of trouble because no matter where we look we can always find trouble. But God and His light is greater and brighter than any trouble that is around us. God is an ever present help in times of trouble.