I needed two medications urgently. One was for my mom’s allergies and the other for my niece’s eczema. Their discomfort was worsening, but the medicines were no longer available in pharmacies. Desperate and helpless, I prayed repeatedly, Lord, please help them.
Weeks later, their conditions became manageable. God seemed to be saying: “There are times when I use medicines to heal. But medicines don’t have the final say; I do. Don’t place your trust in them, but in Me.”
In Psalm 20, King David took comfort in God’s trustworthiness. The Israelites had a powerful army, but they knew that their biggest strength came from “the name of the
While God may use the resources of this world to help us, ultimately, victory over our problems comes from Him. Whether He gives us a resolution or the grace to endure, we can trust that He’ll be to us all that He says He is. We don’t have to be overwhelmed by our troubles, but we can face them with His hope and peace.
Dizziness struck me in the stairwell of the office building. Overwhelmed, I gripped the banister because the stairs seemed to spin. As my heart pounded and my legs buckled, I clung onto the banister, thankful for its strength. Medical tests showed I had anemia. Although its cause wasn’t serious and my condition was resolved, I’ll never forget how weak I felt that day.
That’s why I admire the woman who touched Jesus. She not only moved through the crowd in her weakened state, but she also showed faith in venturing out to approach Him. She had good reason to be afraid: Jewish law defined her as unclean and by exposing others to her uncleanness, she could be punished (Leviticus 15:25−27). But the thought, If I only touch His cloak kept her going. The Greek word that is translated as “touch” in Matthew 9:21 is not mere touching but has the stronger meaning of “to hold onto” or “to attach oneself.” The woman tightly held onto Jesus. She believed He could heal her.
Jesus saw, in the midst of a crowd, the desperate faith of one woman. When we too venture out in faith and cling to Christ in our need, He welcomes us and comes to our aid. We can tell Him our story without fear of rejection or punishment. Jesus tells us today, “Cling to me.”
When my cat Mickey had an eye infection, I put eye drops in his eyes daily. As soon as I placed him on the bathroom counter, he’d sit, look at me with frightened eyes, and brace himself for the spurt of liquid. “Good boy,” I’d murmur. Even though he didn’t understand what I was doing, he never jumped off, hissed, or scratched me. Instead, he would press himself closer against me—the person putting him through the ordeal. He knew he could trust me.
When David wrote Psalm 9, he had probably already experienced much of God’s love and faithfulness. He’d turned to Him for protection from his enemies, and God had acted on his behalf (vv. 3−6). During David’s times of need, God hadn’t failed him. As a result, David came to know what God was like—He was powerful and righteous, loving and faithful. And so, David trusted Him. He knew God was trustworthy.
I’ve cared for Mickey through several illnesses since the night I found him as a tiny, starving kitten on the street. He knows he can trust me—even when I do things to him that he doesn’t understand. In a similar way, remembering God’s faithfulness to us and His character helps us trust Him when we can’t understand what He’s doing. May we continue to trust God through the difficult times in life.
I held up a picture of people sleeping under pieces of cardboard in a dim alley. “What do they need?” I asked my sixth grade Sunday school class. “Food,” someone said. “Money,” said another. “A safe place,” a boy said thoughtfully. Then one girl spoke up: “Hope.”
“Hope is expecting good things to happen,” she explained. I found it interesting that she talked about “expecting” good things when, due to challenges, it can be easy not to expect good things in life. The Bible nevertheless speaks of hope in a way that agrees with my student. If “faith is confidence in what we hope for” (Hebrews 11:1), we who have faith in Jesus can expect good things to happen.
What is this ultimate good that believers in Christ can hope for with confidence?—“the promise of entering his rest” (4:1).For believers, God’s rest includes His peace, confidence of salvation, reliance on His strength and assurance of a future heavenly home. The guarantee of God and the salvation Jesus offers is why hope can be our anchor, holding us fast in times of need (6:18–20). The world needs hope, indeed: God’s true and certain assurance that throughout good and bad times, He will have the final say and won’t fail us. When we trust in Him, we know that He will make all things right for us in His time.
The owner of the bookstore where Keith worked had been away on vacation for only two days, but Keith, his assistant, was already panicking. Operations were smooth, but Keith was anxious that he wouldn’t do a good job overseeing the store. Frenetically, he micromanaged all he could.
“Stop it,” his boss finally told him over a video call. “All you have to do is follow the instructions I email you daily. Don’t worry, Keith. The burden isn’t on you; it’s on me.”
In a time of conflict with other nations, Israel received a similar word from God: “Be still” (Psalm 46:10). “Stop striving,” He said in essence, “just follow what I say. I will fight for you.” Israel was not being told to be passive or complacent, but to be actively still—to obey God faithfully while yielding control of the situation and leaving the results of their efforts to Him.
We’re called to do the same. And we can do it because the God we trust is sovereign over the world. If “he lifts his voice” and “the earth melts”, and if He can “make wars cease to the ends of the earth” (vv. 6,9), then surely, we can trust in the security of His refuge and strength (v. 1). The burden of control over our life isn’t on us—it’s on God.
I sat in the stillness of a workday’s end, my laptop in front of me. I should’ve been exhilarated about the work I’d finished that day, but I wasn’t. I was tired. My shoulders ached with the load of anxiety over a problem at work, and my mind was spent from thinking about a troubled relationship. I wanted to escape from it all—my thoughts wandered to watching TV that night.
But I closed my eyes. “Lord,” I whispered. I was too tired to say more. All my weariness went into that one word. And somehow, I immediately knew that was where it should go.
“Come to me,” Jesus tells us who are weary and burdened, “and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Not the rest from a good night’s sleep. Not the break from reality that television offers. Not even the relief when a problem has been solved. Although these may be good sources of rest, the respite they offer is short-lived and dependent on our circumstances.
In contrast, the rest Jesus gives is lasting and guaranteed by His unchanging character. He’s always good. He gives us true rest for our souls even in the midst of trouble, because we know that everything is in His control. We can trust and submit to Him, endure and even thrive in difficult situations because of the strength and restoration only He can give.
“Come to me,” Jesus tells you. “Come to me.”
“I felt so useless,” Harold said. “Widowed and retired, kids busy with their own families, spending quiet afternoons watching shadows on the wall.” He’d often tell his daughter, “I’m old and have lived a full life. I have no purpose anymore. God can take me any time.”
One afternoon, however, a conversation changed Harold’s mind. “My neighbor had some problems with his kids, so I prayed for him,” Harold said. “Later, I shared the gospel with him. That’s how I realized I still have a purpose! As long as there are people who haven’t heard of Jesus, I must tell them about the Savior.”
When Harold responded to an everyday, ordinary encounter by sharing his faith, his neighbor’s life was changed. In 2 Timothy 1, the apostle Paul mentions two women who’d likewise been used by God to change another person’s life: the life of Paul’s young coworker, Timothy. Lois, Timothy’s grandmother, and Eunice, his mother, had a “sincere faith” which they’d passed on to him (v. 5). Through everyday events in an ordinary household, young Timothy learned a genuine faith that was to shape his growth into a faithful disciple of Jesus and, eventually, his ministry as leader of the church at Ephesus.
No matter what our age, background, or circumstances, we have a purpose—to tell others about Jesus.
At 7 p.m., Hui-Liang was in his kitchen, eating rice and leftover fish balls. The Chua family in the apartment next door was having dinner too, and their laughter and conversation cut through the silence of Hui-Liang’s unit, where he’d lived alone since his wife died. He’d learned to live with loneliness; over the years, its stabbing pain had become a dull ache. But tonight, the sight of the one bowl and pair of chopsticks on his table pierced him deeply.
Before he went to bed that night, Hui-Liang read Psalm 23, his favorite psalm. The words that mattered to him were only four syllables: “You are with me” (v. 4). More than the shepherd’s practical acts of care toward the sheep, it was his steadfast presence and loving gaze over every detail of the life of the sheep (vv. 2−5) that gave Hui-Liang peace.
Just knowing that someone is there, that someone is with us, brings great comfort in those lonely moments. God promises His children that His love will always be with us (Psalm 103:17), and that He’ll never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). When we feel alone and unseen—whether in a quiet kitchen, on the bus going home from work, or even in a crowded supermarket—we can know that the Shepherd’s gaze is always on us. We can say, “You are with me.”
In the book Physics, Charles Riborg Mann and George Ransom Twiss asked: “When a tree falls in a lonely forest, and no animal is nearby to hear it, does it make a sound?” Over the years, this question has prompted philosophical and scientific discussions about sound, perception, and existence. A definitive answer, however, has yet to emerge.
One night, while feeling lonely and sad about a problem I hadn’t shared with anyone, I recalled this question. When no one hears my cry for help, I thought, does God hear?
Facing the threat of death and overcome by distress, the writer of Psalm 116 may have felt abandoned. So he called out to God—knowing He was listening and would help him. “He heard my voice,” the psalmist wrote, “he heard my cry for mercy. . . . [He] turned his ear to me” (vv. 1–2). When no one knows our pain, God knows. When no one hears our cries, God hears.
Knowing that God will show us His love and protection (vv. 5–6), we can be at rest in difficult times (v. 7). The Hebrew word translated “rest” (manoach) describes a place of quiet and safety. We can be at peace, strengthened by the assurance of God’s presence and help.
The question posed by Mann and Twiss led to numerous answers. But to the question, Does God hear? the answer is simply yes.