1. Divine Strength a Defense
Before you are the words of Scripttire from Job 22:25, "The Almighty stall be thy defense." [See poster.] The rest of the verse reads, "And thou shalt have plenty of silver." The margin tells us that silver here refers to silver of strength. And so we might say, "Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defense, and thou shalt have plenty of strength." If ever there was a time when we needed strength, both physically and spiritually, we need it right now and in the days that lie ahead.
In Isaiah 8:22 we find a graphic description of the times in which we are living : "They shall look unto the earth ; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish ; and they shall be driven to darkness." How many people are looking unto the earth and beholding nought but darkness ! What a wonderful privilege that as Christians we can look to heaven instead of earth !
2. Hearts Failing Froin Fear
Our country has been anticipating war. There have been articles in various periodicals and papers for the last ten years about the nations of earth preparing for war. We used to read about it and put it aside as something possible but not probable in our land—at least not right away.
But now it has come. And somehow men are beginning to feel that we are nearing "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation." Dan. 12 :I. Jesus diagnosed the attitude and reaction in this time prior to His coming when He told of the hearts of men "failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." Luke 21 :26.
Psychiatrists recognize fear as an emotion which disturbs the vital functions of the body, raises the tension of the nervous system, and produces a state of unrest which leads to discouragement, depression, and despair. Such is the effect upon those who have "no hope, and [are] without God in the world." Eph. 2:12. Overwhelmed by fear, the heart needs above all else a place of refuge—a mental and spiritual air-raid shelter.
3. Immediate Preparation Necessary
"Air-raid shelter" is a common term these days. Such shelters are being erected on every side, and signs direct to their location. They are being constructed far from any skies that have yet been darkened by the approach of enemy planes. Preparedness is the watchword of defense. When bombs fall is not the time to erect a shelter.
A ship was once in distress. The rigging had all been blown overboard, and the ship was letting in water faster than the sailors could pump it out. Suddenly one sailor, particularly noted for his vile language and dissolute life, stopped pumping, dropped to his knees, and began to pray that God would save the ship. About that time the captain came along, gave him a kick, and ordered him back to the pumps, advising him to save his prayers for fair weather.
There are two classes of people in the last days which are brought to view in Scripture. First, there is the group who, like the sailor, have not availed themselves of a place of refuge :
"The heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together ; and every mountain and island were moved Out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and In the rocks of the mountains ; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb : for the great day of His wrath is come ; and who shall be able to stand ?" Rev. 6:14-17.
On the other hand there are those who, looking up, can say with confidence :
"Lo, this is our God ; we have waited for Him, and He will save us this is the Lord ; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." Isa. 25 :9.
4. Suggestions for Mental and Spiritual Health
The Bible contains many suggestions which will help us develop vigorous mental and spiritual health.
1. We should have the right perspective. We should place the happenings and activities of every day in proper relation to the big and important issues of life. The Master has bidden us, "Occupy till I come," and we should direct our activities toward the hastening of that day.
2. Let us be cheerful. "Joy is the flag hoisted to signify that Christ is believed and loved indeed.' Jesus has told us, "In the world ye shall have tribulation : but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16 :33.
3. We must learn to face reality. From practically all over the world come reports of refugees who have had to leave their homes and flee from the enemy. The future holds only terror for them, and how they must long to "dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places." Isa. 32:18.
As Christians, you and I are refugees in this world. We are facing a stormy time, but that very storm will drive us nearer home. "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads ; for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21 :28:
4. Don't worry. Worry saps the life forces and cuts the efficiency and effectiveness of our service for God and country. Christians should be the most courageous people on earth today. We should face the world with the words of Job, "I know that my Redeemer liveth" ( Job 19 :25) ; and with those of Paul, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day" (2 Tim. 1 :12)
5. Trust in divine power. We can be calm and confident. Those promises which God gave to His people of old are just as sure for us today. "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." Isa. 30:15. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee : because he trusteth in Thee." Isa. 26 :3.
And so, in these days before the storm descends full upon us, let us seek refuge in that divine air-raid shelter of faith, that we may "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh . . . a reason of the hope that is in [us]." I Peter 3 :15.
(In conclusion the following poem is given with bowed head as a prayer.)
"God of our fathers, known of old Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine—Lord God of hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget, lest we forget !"
(The hymn, "A Shelter in the Time of Storm," played softly as a musical postlude, is effective in concluding the service.)