God Is Not Superman

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you and you will honor Me.”
(Psalm 50:15)

“For in the day of trouble, He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.”
(Psalm 27:5)

“Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me.”
(Psalm 56:9)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
(Psalm 46:1)

“I will never, never leave you; I will never, never, never forsake you.”
(Hebrews 13:5, literal Greek)


Timing is everything. And God, who knows no days and who is not bound by time, plots His entrance into our lives perfectly, revealing Himself precisely according to script. The verses above tell us that not only does He invest Himself “around” the time of our need but He is already positioned in the moment. He doesn’t “ballpark” it.

The Hebrew of “a very present help” in Psalm 46 tells us He is already on the scene. God is not Clark Kent with supersonic hearing who picks up on a Metropolis victim’s cry from his desk at the Daily Planet then dons a cape as Superman en route to the scene of the crime. He is there.

It’s not so much that He “shows up” as it is, He reveals His already fixed Presence in the bitter moment, the time of need. A marginal note in my Bible reads, He is “abundantly available for help in tight places.” This does not encourage some fellow believers in their times of travail. They demand a God who will head trouble off at the pass and cause it to miss them altogether. Theirs is a faith that needs the storm to be stilled in order to believe. Actually, theirs is a faith who wants clear skies and sunshine (I am not always immune to this either). But great faith, pleasing faith[1], is a faith that trusts in both the Father’s desire and ability to come through, no matter what.

Someone very close to us is a practical agnostic. They order their lives in such a way as to deem God non-existent, or if He is, He’s not at all interested in them, could care less, so why should they? Israel’s history shows ebbs and flows of the same worldview. At one time, they were the slaves of Egypt bearing up on shaky legs under a steel canopy of hate and abuse[2] —a four hundred and thirty year holocaust, mind you. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, lay dead in the sands of Egypt over that span and the workers in the pits had all but given up on the songs of the Homeland, ditties taught them by their forebears. The first hundred years the songs likely reflected home and the conviction it would be seen again. The second hundred years the songs probably turned more toward a hope of going there, the next hundred years they dwindled and dimmed to a minor key of hardship being their home, their fate, their inheritance. The last hundred years the songs were hopeless dirges, awaiting committal into the ground, hoarsely sung through cracked throats, over swollen tongues and through clenched teeth.

While Hell’s emperor taunted their pitiful cries of “Why, God? Where are You?” God was not moving; He was stationary. No, I don’t mean He was sitting aways off aloof from their toil and travail, engrossed in Other Things. The Lord had tabernacled Himself over His people, brooding over them as the Spirit brooded over the earth at the dawn of creation. In their day of trouble, even their very moment of abject misery, He was present. From our side of things, it looked like the Supreme Righter of All Wrongs was a few years too late. From our side, He can seem so cavalier.

When Lazarus died[3], Jesus came to pay His respects. Martha, one of the sisters of the deceased, was fighting bitterness real hard. She cleaned up what her mind was thinking and civilly remarked to Messiah, “If you had only been here sooner…”

Yeah, been there…

The Apostle Paul, in his inspired writings, revealed that Jesus came at the “fullness of time”[4], the right time, just on time, the perfect time. And when, pray tell, was that? Around 6 BC? How much of human history had already backlogged and how much sin stockpiled by then? Four thousand years? When was it that man got himself into trouble? Way back in the Garden[5] which begs the question, why didn’t Jesus show up and die for men’s sins then?

These are all normal, natural questions our faithless hearts ask. These are the questions of “this side” people, who fail to see both God’s immanence (nearness) and transcendence (almighty-ness, allness, otherness, distinctiveness). These are the rantings of futile arguments that collapse under the weight of the Creator Father’s great awesomeness and His awesome Love.

A number of years ago, I read Jerry Bridges’ book, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts and discovered three things about my God. He is sovereign, meaning that He has the right to do whatever He wants. He is all-wise, meaning that He knows what He is doing the entire time He is doing it, and He is all-loving, meaning that whatever He does, He does with our best interest in mind.

That is a God I can follow, even out here in the shadowlands when the mile markers to Home get lost in the fog sometimes. No worry, I may have to cry out a “Peter Prayer” sometime[6] , but my voice doesn’t have to carry far. He is right beside me, in the nick of time, right on time.

[1] Hebrews 11:6

[2] Exodus 1-3

[3] John 11

[4] Galatians 4:4

[5] Genesis 3

[6] Matthew 14:30


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